- Cooperation was not routine in the beginning, but now everybody has understood the importance of the civilians and the military working together, says the civilian site advisor, Gabriel von Horn in Georgia.
Another VIKING site is located in Austria and activates about 300 people. This is the second time Austria is responsible for a site during VIKING. The staff consist of about 25 civilian members and the rest are military personnel. The military representatives come from Austria, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Germany and the USA.
- We have had a very good development toward our cooperation exercise objectives. From the beginning, the majority of the military personnel were not aware of the civilian dimension in the exercise. Some of them thought that this was an ordinary military exercise. But a few days into the scenario, everybody has understood the value of the civilian dimension in a mission, says Erica Beckman, Civil Site Advisor.
For Ireland, arranging VIKING is not something new. They have had a site here before. There are about 230 people working at the site. The military personnel are from Sweden, Ireland and Austria. A positive development since last time is that the civilian training audience has tripled in numbers.
The Civilian Site Advisor, Mats Melin, has experiences from previous VIKING exercises, in 2005 he had the role as Bogaland President. This makes him a good evaluator of the VIKING exercises.
- This is a multi-dimensional exercise and the increased volume of the civilian dimension in the exercises is impressing. It is a valuable preparation for military personnel to understand the circumstances in a real mission. They learn how to communicate with EU and UN staff, as they should do in a real peace operation.
Mats Melin says that the reactions to the injects in the scenario are very similar to how people react in real life missions.
- First a kind of panic, when nobody knows what to do, but then, everybody starts to work to find a solution.