Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Visit at the CIMIC Group South

Last 16th March 2010 the Youth Atlantic Club of Gorizia, YATA Italy, carried out an interesting activity thanks to the collaboration of the CIMIC Group South unit, located in Motta di Livenza in the district of Treviso, Italy.

The CIMIC Group South represents the only Operational Cimic Headquarters within NATO and is the only military unit capable of developing and carrying out activities of Civil – Military Cooperation within NATO’s southern flank. It was created on the 1st January 2002 with the participation of Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Romania – which joined in 2007. The CIMIC activity represents a high level of cooperation within the framework of NATO where military units from different contributing nations work together with other Governmental Organizations, International Organizations and Non Governmental Organizations to cooperate in restoring essential services to countries that have been affected by natural disasters, wars or other state of emergencies.

The cooperation programme was carried out during the Functional Specialist Cimic Course (15th -19th March 2010). This course, together with the NATO CIMIC Basic Course, are the two main courses provided by the CIMIC Group South, open to both military and civil personnel and offering theoretical formation and professional training in the field of civil-military cooperation. (for more information visit its website:

The day was divided into two main periods, following the activities scheduled in the programme for the attendees. During the morning we first followed two lessons regarding cultural awareness and negotiation, and then some of the personnel prepared only for us an interesting description of the CIMIC unit. They gave us an outline of its position within NATO structures, its role and the specific tasks of its personnel in the war/crisis theatres, and the activities provided regularly on the base in Motta di Livenza, as an international benchmark in the NATO CIMIC field. In the afternoon activities of simulation in specific scenarios were scheduled. First we listened to an explanation of the scenarios they would play and then we watched a simulation were the attendees were asked to deal with the local authorities asking for help and support of the military detail.

After that the personnel of CIMIC reserved a place for us as role players in the second simulation scheduled for the day. We had to simulate a meeting with the military and civil personnel personifying the representatives of a NGO complaining about actions taken by them that had disturbed our work in the area. The aim was to put them in a spot and to lead the argument to a negotiation in order to solve the deadlock and reach a positive compromise.

That day represented a really unique moment for that group of students, for many reasons. First of all they had the opportunity to enter into direct contact with the world of the army and to observe the work of our Italian military personnel in a multinational framework. Secondly, they had the chance to discover what the civil-military cooperation really is, its particular characteristics, its small but important place in the crisis theatres and its role within NATO’s lead operations. Moreover, they also got to become familiar with the only Operational Cimic Headquarters within NATO and its team of professionals at work: they had the opportunity to sit in on some of the lessons and to take active part in the activities with them.

All of this was possible thanks to the kind availability of the CIMIC personnel that with a hearty welcome have opened their doors to the students, not only letting them share in the activities, but also trusting in them by giving them a part as role players for a simulation.

The students were all enthusiastic of the stimulating and exciting experiences that were new to them. They showed that they learned a lot from the visit itself, from what they had seen, heard and felt, and also from the previous preparation, for which they had to concentrate on studying for their role in the simulation and to learn how a counterpart to our military personnel in a real scenario of crisis would react.

Article by Atlantic Club of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy.

No comments: