"All Operators attending the courses thoroughly enjoyed them and, more importantly for me, it has brought the whole team in to line with our current medical competency." Neil Royston MBE, Diplomatic Protection Team Leader.

Background

When close protection teams and security operators are deployed to hostile and challenging environments, their expertise is always in high demand. The remote nature of their deployment rotations means they are frequently required to bear the responsibility of the safety and welfare of a diverse patient population, and with limited forms of communication.

The operational teams, and those they serve and protect work under extremes of environmental, physical and psychological stress for prolonged periods of time. Maintaining skills in this environment is both critical, and extremely difficult. The traditional approach is reliant on operators sacrificing leave to requalify and update their qualifications and competencies.

The scope and depth of skills that require updating represents a significant sacrifice for operators, lowering morale and impacting on rest and recuperation, family and social lives, and ultimately overall productivity. Olive Group, recognising these critical operational constraints, proactively approached Iqarus - as its trusted training partner - to find an innovative solution.

The goal was to maintain and enhance operational capability in Kabul, Afghanistan, with minimal disruption to operations, or personnel.

Challenges

Delivering the required training module in Kabul posed significant challenges for both the training team and also the client.

There were considerable security challenges, as well as the logistical complications of providing similar training equipment to that available in our UK training centres, without adversely increasing the cost to our client.

The primary intent of the project was to ensure that the training delivery enhanced the client’s operational effectiveness with minimal disruption, to both routine and unplanned operations. The training solution chosen was appropriately endorsed, and satisfied the national security industry requirements, while also addressing the broader needs of the client.

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The main challenge was that of providing care for a diverse patient population with the potential for a) multiple co-morbidities and b) emerging and previously undiagnosed chronic illness.

Fortunately, the one challenge that we did not face was recreating the hostile immersive training environment found in our Hereford Training Centre; this was readily available, on a much larger scale, in the realities of the complex and demanding environment in which we were operating.

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Solutions

To minimise disruption to ongoing operations, Iqarus tailored a Medicine in Remote Ares (MIRA) training package for the Olive Group that worked around the operational cycles and daily routines of the close protection teams and security operators.

Instructors were carefully selected from the Iqarus training cadre, each with operational medical support involvement in a close protection role and with recent experiences in Afghanistan.

The Iqarus medical supplies team supported the training division by providing training equipment and facilities while the Iqarus operational teams in Kabul provided secure travel, accommodation and equipment management.

The MIRA courses were delivered end to end, with considerations given to accommodate for any overrun or extension of training caused by unanticipated operational requirements, such as the serious security incident that resulted in a lockdown of all movement in Kabul, which in turn, forced the delay in the commencement of training.

Each of the course instructors were given opportunities to observe and integrate with Iqarus’s remote health projects in Kabul.

Outcome

The Iqarus team overcame several known and unanticipated challenges to deliver a sophisticated training solution exceeding international and industry standards, in a hostile and complex training environment.

Olive Group was extremely pleased with the calibre of training, the operational capabilities provided, and the persistence, flexibility and competence of the entire Iqarus team. The planning and mobilisation of this project demonstrates Iqarus’s ability to deliver intelligent and integrated services in complex and demanding environments.

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Following completion of training, Olive Group’s Team Leader expressed his appreciation by way of a message which included the following: “... The depth of knowledge from both instructors was first class... I’m glad we finally managed to facilitate this course having had to turn it off twice before for various reasons. I look forward to catching up with you and your Team at Iqarus in the near future.’’

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