By Dr. Chris Reynolds, Dean, Academic Outreach & Program Development
American Military University participated as a strategic partner and sponsor of Ravens Challenge 2017 ASEAN in Bangkok and Hau Hin, Thailand, July 10 – 21. Ravens Challenge hosted a dynamic, multinational Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) event with realistic Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training and complete testing for local, regional, and national agencies. Participants joined from the United States, United Kingdom, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, and Cambodia.
We also awarded two university scholarships to the Royal Thai Defense Technical Institute (DTI) and the Royal Thai Police Unit 191 EOD. The scholarships provide one member from each organization with the opportunity to earn an AMU associate degree in Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Counter Terrorism Studies, or Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness.
Offering these scholarships introduces the Royal Thai military and police to American Military University and our scholarly community of military and civilian professionals. It also provides mission-relevant education to professionals in Thailand, affording them the opportunity to deepen their subject expertise and share valuable perspectives with our faculty and student practitioners.
Joining me were fellow retired U.S. military officers, Dr. Mark Riccardi and Dr. James Hess, dean of the School of Security and Global Studies and faculty director, respectively. Together, they instructed classes on terrorism profiling, forensics exploitation, combined joint task force operations, and terrorist use of explosive and chemical devices.
Dr. Hess conducted classes on terrorism insurgency, terrorism nodal analysis, and pattern analysis. “By conducting nodal and pattern analyses, analysts can focus on building capabilities to combat insurgents and provide commanders with the ability to see when and where insurgents are conducting attacks, which can interdict future attacks,” he said.
Dr. Riccardi led scenario-based training during the second week at Camp Naresuan in Hua Hin, which focused on the chemical weapons threat that terrorists employ. “It’s important to remember that protective measures, mitigation, and recovery strategies from a chemical attack are far different from a conventional attack,” he advised. “The United States and our allies should have a common understanding of the threat, so that we can work together and support each other in defeating our common terrorist enemy.”
“Having AMU as an educational partner is ideal for exposing our attendees — many of whom are leading professionals in their region and sector — to the latest and greatest thinking in the field,” said Ravens Challenge Director Al Johnson. “AMU brings a global perspective and highly practical relevance to educating current and future military, national security, emergency response, and public safety leaders.”
Our participation in this year’s Ravens Challenge not only introduced AMU to an entirely new part of the world that is rich in culture and tradition, but it also provided the opportunity to positively impact the readiness of Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations to counter the ever-growing terror threat. Both the Royal Thai Army and Police do a superlative job protecting their citizens each and every day and our involvement in assisting with their training was a sincere honor and privilege for all of us.