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Article – ‘From the Other Side of the Looking Glass’ by CO 1st Battalion Royal Pacific Island Regiment

“Respect and trust transcends cultural divides”

Click on the image or here to download the article ‘From the other side of the Looking Glass
by Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, Royal Pacific Islands Regiment

Australia has a long and close history with Papua New Guinea. Since PNG’s independence in 1975, the Australian Defence Force has maintained a strong relationship with the Papua New Guinean Defence Force (PNGDF), with the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment having originally been a part of the Australian Army. Australian support to the PNGDF is conducted through the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP), of which PNG is the largest partner, receiving a third of all DCP funding.

Over the last few years there has been an increase in the deployment of short term mentoring and training teams from the Australian Army to work with the PNGDF. This year, those teams were largely composed of soldiers from 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. On their return they provided The Cove with some good insights into working with the PNGDF.

Yet mentoring is a two-way process. This excellent piece by Lieutenant Colonel Aruma, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion, The Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, gives a perspective ‘From the other side of the Looking Glass’ – i.e. the view from those partnered forces that Australian soldiers have mentored as part of Building Partner Capacity missions. As such it forms an important part of our understanding of working with our regional partners. Along with The Cove’s recent BPC seminar series , Lieutenant Colonel Aruma’s article is essential reading for anyone who is likely to find themselves mentoring or training foreign forces in the future.

About the author: Lieutenant Colonel Boniface Aruma, DMS. Graduated Royal Military College June 1999, Graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College 2016, Commanding Officer of First Battalion Royal Pacific Islands Regiment 2017 – 2018

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