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Exercise Talisman Saber highlights enduring US and Australia alliance

By Russell Goemaere, USARPAC July 19, 2017

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- More than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are participating in the biennial military training exercise Talisman Saber 2017 in Australia, June 23 to July 25, 2017.

Talisman Saber, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Headquarters Joint Operations Command, will incorporate U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and the Australian Defence Force, as well as other government agencies from each country.

The realistic and challenging exercise provides an invaluable opportunity to conduct operations in a combined, joint and interagency environment that will increase both countries' ability to plan and execute contingency responses, from combat missions to humanitarian assistance efforts.

Featuring 21 ships, including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and more than 200 joint aircraft, this seventh iteration of the exercise will focus on training a Combined Task Force of U.S. and Australian forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario.

The exercise also incorporates interagency participation, along with a command post exercise involving a transition between a 3 and 4-star headquarters. U.S. Pacific Command units and Australian forces are conducting live and virtual training exercises in multi-domains on sea, land, air, cyber throughout multiple training areas in and around Australia.

The exercise is being conducted from multiple locations in the U.S., including Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Naval Base San Diego, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Naval Station Norfolk Suffolk Joint DOD Complex, Camp Atterbury, Indiana and on the island of Guam.

Multiple locations in Australia are also hosting the exercise, including Darwin, Rockhampton, Amberley, Canberra, Enoggera, Fog Bay, the maritime areas of the Coral Sea, and Australian ranges including the Bradshaw, Shoalwater and Townsville Field Training Areas.

Along with the opportunity to hone military skills, the significant involvement from international, Australian and United States government agencies make this a truly collaborative whole-of-government effort. Active participation by international organizations includes the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Australian government entities participating in the exercise include the Department of Defence International Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Civil-Military Centre.

U.S. participating agencies include the U.S. Departments of State (DoS) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The U.S. and Australia train and work together in a variety of exercises and missions throughout the year, including working together on humanitarian and civic assistance missions in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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