From Sydney to South Sudan

Australian Army officer Captain Michael Bailey is in South Sudan on Operation Aslan.

From Sydney to South Sudan

Captain Michael Bailey’s first deployment in the ADF is a far cry from his instructing role in the Army. 

A Royal Australian Engineer posted to Randwick Barracks, Captain Bailey is deployed on Operation Aslan as part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). 

He said the best part of his deployment was working with so many different military personnel. 

“The diversity of the workforce is incredible. There are more than 70 nations represented in UNMISS across numerous organisations,” Captain Bailey said. 

“You get to meet with so many people and navigate various cultural nuances to achieve positive outputs, it’s very rewarding. I am very proud to be here.” 

Captain Bailey is employed in a role he has had to learn from scratch, including a whole new foreign organisational structure. 

“I work in the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) which has a combined United Nations military, police and civilian workforce from an array of nations. 

“The JOC is the primary responsibility of the Special Representative of the Secretary General, David Shearer, and his Senior Mission Group.

“It provides awareness on all mission activities across the country, as well as coordination in the event of any national crisis.”

Captain Bailey said the JOC role was specifically important for two major reasons.
“In terms of UNMISS, the JOC is the nerve centre of the mission’s leadership and is the only means to gain real-time information to make informed decisions or plans,” Captain Bailey said. 

“Secondly, in terms of the Australian contingent, it provides the best situational awareness for mission-related activities at the national level to support decision making of the contingent command team.”

Captain Bailey is on his first deployment and said the role differed significantly from his previous posting as an instructor at the School of Military Engineering. 

“The diversity of the role and how unfamiliar it is to a standard military posting is probably the best part,” Captain Bailey said.

“The range of organisations the JOC engages with on a daily basis makes this an incredibly unique experience. 

“I’m proud to be in South Sudan supporting humanitarian operations for a population existing under fragile peace and with widespread poverty.”

Captain Bailey said having come from a Defence family, he had insight into the lifestyle and opportunities a career in the ADF could provide. 

“My father is an ex-serving ADF member and through early exposure to what a career in Defence could entail, I was motivated from a young age to pursue a career with the Army,” he said. 

“My older brother, Flight Lieutenant Daniel Bailey, is an Air Combat Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force.

“The ability to live in different locations and experience such a diverse range of jobs, all while serving with an extremely hard-working and motivated group of people, made a career in the ADF an easy decision.”

The ADF has contributed personnel to UNMISS since September 2011 and contributes to the UN’s commitment to protect the people of the Republic of South Sudan through the monitoring of human rights and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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