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Resilient Response 2020 Successfully Completed

Resilient Response 2020 Successfully Completed

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From 23 to 27 November 2020, the Multinational Medical Coordination Centre / European Medical Command (MMCC/EMCelectromagnetic compatibility) in Koblenz conducted the exercise Resilient Response 2020 (RERE 20). Fifteen nations had enrolled for the war game. Owed to the current Corona situation, this exercise was carried out only online.

The international online wargame Resilient Response 2020 as a pandemic training of the Multinational Medical Coordination Centre / European Medical Command

All of the more than 70 participants in exercise RERE 20 agreed that communication is the key to success. During the three-day war game, representatives of international armed forces and authorities simulated their strategies and cooperation in the event of an epidemic/pandemic situation and exercised different responses to the outbreak of a highly contagious virus disease.

For more than seven months, the military personnel of MMCC/EMCelectromagnetic compatibility in Koblenz had prepared the pandemic simulation exercise in cooperation with the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE) in Helsinki and the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance. Coordinator on the part of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance was Dr Martin Weber who at the same time acted as Lead Facilitator of the exercise. In this function, he briefed the players on the scenario at the beginning of the respective round of the game. In one round for instance, this was the approach to phenomena of a second wave of infection.

Corona-Pandemic challlenges

The fact that owing to the current quarantine and travel restrictions most of the exercise had to be carried out online faced the organisers with additional challenges. In order to enable a smooth exchange between the players, a complex IT infrastructure was temporarily installed at MMCC/EMCelectromagnetic compatibility, and more than 100 virtual chatrooms were established at short notice.

"After months of preparation and under the given, adverse conditions, it is great to see how our war game is filled with life by the players," said Lieutenant Colonel, Pharmacy Corps, Ronnie Michel. As Exercise Director and responsible developer of the exercise RERE 20, he was enthousiastic about the commitment and the creativity of the 15 nations enrolled for the exercise.

Complexes instructions

To make the simulation as realistic as possible for the participants, MMCC/EMCelectromagnetic compatibility developed complex models simulating the course of a virus epidemic. During the war game, data were updated continuously based on the decisions made by the players. "The days of the exercise were a challenge for my team", said Lieutenant Colonel (Medical Corps) Dr Maren Kosak, Head of the Medical Situational Awareness / Civil-military Interface Branch at MMCC/EMCelectromagnetic compatibility. In her function as head of the simulation cell she was responsible for the data base of the war game. "At the end of each action phase, within a very short time key figures on the development of the pandemic, the economic situation, and also on the mood among the population had to be calculated on the basis of the decisions made by the participants and re-transmitted to the countries."

Additional hybrid threats

In the course of the four rounds between the initial outbreak of the novel disease and availability and distribution of a vaccine, the participants had to deal not only with the occurrence and course of the infection and its impact on the economy and the mood of their respective nations. Various hybrid threats introduced by the members of the Hybrid CoE unexpectedly provided additional depth to the game.

While in one country prominent personalities doubted the dangerous nature of the virus and, thus, irritated the population, cyber attacks in other countries brought important clinics and research facilities to a standstill. Also these challenges were swiftly overcome by the close cooperation of the participants. "The war game offered a great opportunity to bring home to the participating nations the complexity of a coordinated response to the pandemic", said Shiho Rybski, Director for Training and Exercises at Hybrid CoE, with satisfaction.

The Representative of European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE), Shiho Rybski, talks about the importance of simulating hybrid threats by international pandemic online wargame Resilient Response 2020

After the successful conduct of RESILIENT RESPONSE 2020, the team of the Wargaming / Exercises Branch in close cooperation with the other branches of MMCC/EMCelectromagnetic compatibility is already working on exercises for 2021. And who knows, maybe some of the participants here will soon see each other again (virtually).

by Jens Hetzel

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