“Khaan Quest” Wraps Up First Decade
“Khaan Quest 2013″ came to an end this week in Mongolia. The annual exercises, which were held this year from August 3-14, bring together more than a dozen militaries from around the world with the goal of sharing best practices and interoperability for multinational peacekeeping operations (PKO). “Khaan Quest has become one of the signature training events for the participating nations,” said Mongolian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Ts. Byambajav, chief of general staff for the Mongolian Armed Force. “At this moment we have more than 150,000 international peacekeeping troops performing their duties overseas … this is a result of the Khaan Quest exercises.”
This year’s exercises were especially significant as it marked the 10th year anniversary of the event, started in 2003 by the United States and Mongolia. This year, 14 nations, and over 1,000 officers, joined the exercises (including the host): Mongolia, the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, South Korea, Tajikistan, the United Kingdom and Viet Nam. U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, praised KQ13 exercises: “It’s all about moving forward together. So as we begin this very important exercise, I ask each and every one of you to foster the understanding and trust that the world will depend upon.”
While the exercises help work on PKO tactics, Khaan Quest also remains a showcase for Mongolia to display its strategic ties with the United States and NATO. Last year, NATO approved an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme with Mongolia marking the formalization of a relationship that has blossomed within the past decade due to contributitions from the MAF in Kosovo, Sudan and Afghanistan.
Jonathan B. Miller, Contributor