Major General Ricardo Stangher Quivira is the commander of the Chilean Army Logistics Division and currently serves as deputy commanding general of U.S. Army South, in San Antonio, Texas. During multinational exercise PANAMAX 2022, which was carried out, among other places, at Fort Sam Houston, headquarters of U.S. Army South, Maj. Gen. Stangher also served as deputy commanding general of Multinational Force South. Diálogo spoke with Maj. Gen. Stangher about PANAMAX 2022.
Diálogo: How does participating in these exercises benefit your country?
Major General Ricardo Stangher Quivira, commander of the Chilean Army Logistics Division: For Chile it’s an excellent opportunity to participate in these important positions, where we can practice combined joint planning, share with different countries, and learn how other countries plan. We are here in this exercise that encompasses more than 20 nations and we are all working together. The Chilean Army was assigned several positions and one of them is the second commander of the Multinational Force. What I understand is that this is the first time that Chile occupies this position.
Diálogo: And what does this mean, in your opinion?
Maj. Gen. Stangher: In my opinion, Chile has received a vote of confidence on this occasion from the country that is leading this exercise and during the coalition exercise to be able to conduct the planning of PANAMAX and the planning of operations during the exercise. Chile is a country that has always been involved in PANAMAX from the beginning, when there were only the United States, Panama, and us. And from that time on, Chile has been involved in all the PANAMAX exercises that have been carried out.
Diálogo: What kind of skills does your army bring to this type of training?
Maj. Gen. Stangher: The officers who are here participating are from the Armed Forces, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Therefore, we belong to the Chilean Air Force, the Chilean Army, and the Chilean Navy. All of us here are officers who have taken the General Staff course. Therefore, we have experience in planning, we compare and contrast, share our experience, share and receive the experience of other countries as well. So, what we can contribute and receive is quite important.
Diálogo: Is this kind of training really necessary?
Maj. Gen. Stangher: Very much so. There’s no other exercise this big where so many countries are involved, where we can test interoperability between different types of armed forces, different services, and different nations. So, it’s the only way to know if we’re capable of acting together in the event of a crisis that requires a multinational force.
Diálogo: Are there any lessons learned that you can share?
Maj. Gen. Stangher: We have several lessons learned. And one of them is an issue that was a little bit difficult at the beginning, which was relationships due to the different languages. However, we were able to overcome that hurdle quickly with translators for those who do not speak English or for those officers who only speak English and do not understand Portuguese or Spanish. That’s something we need to keep working on for the future.