By: MWO A.G. Auger, ETQMS, 1 R22eR Maint SME, Op PROTEUS
This past winter, I had the opportunity to deploy as part of Operation PROTEUS as a Maintenance (Maint) Subject Matter Expert (SME) to conduct a Basic Logistics Course (BLC) for the Palestinian Authority Security Force (PASF). Operation PROTEUS is Canada’s contribution to the international peace effort in the West Bank. Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members serve with an international team as part of Canada’s Task Force in Jerusalem (TFJ). 21 CAF members and 3 Police officers from various provinces are deployed in Jerusalem for a 12 month period supporting this effort.
A key Line Of Effort (LOE) for Op PROTEUS is to develop the PASF in the effective provision of logistics support to its units. The PASF has established a Logistic Commission (LC) to centralize logistic support, which includes supply and warehousing, transportation, distribution, food services, equipment maintenance and infrastructure management and maintenance. In the future, it may also include medical services.
BLC 2019-01 was held from 26 January to 20 February 2019. It is currently delivered as a four week training course at the Central Training Institute (CTI) in Jericho and covers basic concepts in supply, transport, maintenance and food services. The Technical Assistance Visit (TAV) was composed of Capt Hill, BTO, CFSTG Tech Svcs Borden, (team lead), CWO Gouin, 34 Svc Bn (Supply SME), MWO Doyle, CA G4 Ops 4-3 (Transport SME), MWO Auger, ETQMS, 1 R22eR (Maint SME) and SLt Henry-Lemieux, TDO who was responsible for a program evaluation of the course. Key members of our team were the Language Assistants (LA) assigned to us for the duration of the course. Ms. Najla Noureen and Mr. Ra’ed Samara were essential and were always ready to adapt rapidly to changing situations and provide near instant translation. The TAV were also supported by the entire Op PROTEUS LA team who conducted valuable translations under Ms. Rawand Amali’s leadership.
The BLC was comprised of twenty four Non-Commissioned Members (NCO) and Officers from the PASF, coming from the eleven Governorates that make up the West Bank. The West Bank has a population of approximately 2.8 million inhabitants in an area of 5671 km2, roughly the size of Prince Edward Island. As with most courses, the candidates had few interactions during the first few days of training and, for the most part, kept to themselves. In order to break the ice, develop cohesion, and build confidence, we conducted a simple logistic exercise that involved the importation of Canadian made maple syrup into the West Bank. This allowed student interaction in order to cover the sixteen principles of logistics. The exercise was followed by a maple syrup tasting event, to the candidates delight. Although the course had predetermined subjects and timelines, most classes evolved into professional discussions which complemented the teaching points (TPs). A few professional visits were completed as well in order to provide the candidates and SME’s an understanding of PASF logistics and maintenance facilities.
The TAV team had the opportunity to conduct a two day professional development visit (PD) in Jordan at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra and in the Wadi Rum desert. The visit allowed us to spend a day discovering the ancient historical and archaeological site of Petra, which is a new Seven Wonders of the World since 2007. The Petra site is 8 km long and includes nine hundred steps up to the incredible façade of the Monastery. The following day was spent exploring Wadi Rum by Land Cruiser, experiencing authentic Bedouin cuisine and camp. This PD visit was quite enriching for the TAV team and was filled with unique experiences which allowed us to deepen our cultural knowledge of the region and people.
The BLC has been supported by Canada since 2012 and the PASF has reached a point where they have the knowledge and ability to conduct the course without Canada’s involvement. I would like to recognize the contribution by all RCEME members who participated in the annual TAV’s since its inception. Their continued involvement and contributions along with logisticians, allowed the PASF to reach this milestone. Canada will continue to support the PASF LC through capacity building with the aim of improving professionalism.