A closing ceremony commenced today at the Five Hills Training Area in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, marking the official end to the multinational peacekeeping exercise KhaanQuest 2016.
For the past two weeks, Mongolian Armed Forces hosted more than 40 nations, and more than 1,500 participants in what was the 10th iteration of the exercise as a multinational event.
The intent of the exercise was to increase and enhance multinational interoperability and mission effectiveness amongst multinational forces to be successful in UN Peacekeeping and Peace Support missions.
This year’s exercise is unique from previous Khaan Quest events. One aspect of this was the exercise serving as the capstone event for the U.S. State Department’s Global Peace Operations Initiative Program.
Also this year, an added critical capability enabler course was taught to Mongolian soldiers preparing to deploy to South Sudan on a UN Peacekeeping mission. This course focused on working in an environment that possibly has unexploded ordnance, mines, or improvised explosive devices.
Overall, the 2-week exercise covered a wide-range of training, such as convoy escort, manning check points, guarding United Nations compounds, combat medical, and survival training; all designed to shape the way multinational service members conduct peacekeeping operations.
Maj. Gen. Gregory Bilton, Deputy Commanding General of Operations for U.S. Army Pacific, expressed his deepest appreciation for Mongolia’s hospitality and emphasized their important role in multinational exercises like Khaan Quest.
“Mongolia is a perfect setting for Khaan Quest,” said Bilton. “I would like to thank the Mongolian Armed Forces for hosting more than 40 countries for this exercise. I am very impressed with their professionalism, along with the participants working towards one common goal which is to maintain peace and stability in the region.”
The exercise not only increased interoperability between nations, it also aimed to enhance their host nation’s quality of life. Engineering civic action program (ENCAP) projects and health services support engagements (HSSE) enhanced Mongolian-U.S. medical cooperation and assisted under served communities in and near the capital city.
Engineering projects completed for a local school in the city of Zuunmod allowed for the opening of the 4th School Dormitory, which will serve as a home away from home for students who travel great
distance to attend school.
Pediatric, dental services and female health professionals also provided care in certain parts of Ulaanbaatar.
“I am delighted that we are continuing the excellent tradition of conducting joint civic projects involving medical, engineer and veterinarian support,” said Bilton. “Not only are these important training events that enhance our military readiness, they help us strengthen relationships with each other and with local communities.”
As the ceremony concluded, Bilton reiterated the importance of Khaan Quest.
“The challenges we face collectively today are both traditional dilemmas and unconventional threats that transcend national borders,” said Bilton. “We must be prepared with a collective solution. We must train together and develop a unified response. We must train together to strengthen our trust. And we must train together to increase our understanding – of each other and our shared interests.”