The TANDEM THRUST exercise provides U.S. and Australian forces an opportunity to train together and enhance their military skills. Robust opposition will be provided by US, Australian and Canadian military units, which will also derive training benefits from the exercise. The exercise is designed to train the Seventh Fleet commander's staff as a designated Joint Task Force (JTF) headquarters.
During World War II a Japanese naval force grabbed a foothold in the Coral Sea in an attempt to conquer Australia. They failed and Australia remained independent. What if another power was to attempt such an invasion? If so, the United States and Australia will be ready. Every two years, U.S. and Australian forces gather to rehearse this type of scenario in a bilateral exercise called Tandem Thrust.
In 2005, Exercise Tandem Thrust, along with Exercises Crocodile and Kingfisher, were combined to form Exercise Talisman Saber, an exercise jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defense Force Joint Operations Command designed to train U.S. Seventh Fleet and Australian Joint Operations staffs as a designated Combined Task Force (CTF) headquarters.
Tandem Thrust 92
In July, 1992, during USCINCPAC Exercise TANDEM THRUST, Commander, Third Fleet led a 15,000 man joint force consisting of land, sea and air forces in the Eastern Pacific. The Joint Task Force Staff, embarked in the admiral's flagship, exercised overall control in the exercise which culminated in naval amphibious landings and Army airborne assaults. Significantly, the JFACC for this exercise -- an Air Force general -- coordinated all air operations remotely from the continental US.
Tandem Thrust 97
Tandem Thrust 97 was held in and around the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in central Queensland during the period 10-22 March 1997. It was the first of it's biennial series to be exercised with Australia. The Exercise demonstrated the closeness of the military-to-military relationship between the U.S. and Australian Defence Forces by combining efforts to strengthen the alliance between the two countries to pursue common regional and international security objectives and contribute to the preservation of security and strategic stability in the region. The exercise demonstrated a variety of ADF and US military capabilities in a combined arms environment and test the capability of Australian and United States command and control procedures.
The exercise included airborne, air-mobile and amphibious assault, maritime, land and air manoeuvre, and significant maritime, ground and air activities. Approximately 21,500 U.S. personnel took part, of which several thousand came ashore into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. Most remained at sea as part of the Carrier Battle Group and Amphibious Ready Group. As part of a Combined Task Force (CTF) headed by Commander Seventh Fleet, forces from Independence (CV 62) Carrier Battle Group, an Amphibious Ready Group built around the New Orleans (LPH 11), III MEF, and the 11th MEU(SOC) worked with other US and Australian forces on a short-warning crisis-action scenario. The exercise implemented USCINCPAC's cooperative engagement strategy and demonstrated U.S.-Australian cooperation. Approximately 5,700 Australian Defence Force members participated from all of the Defence Army, Navy and Air Force Commands.
The local communities benefited from the income generated by the influx of military and non-military personnel concerned with participating in and covering the event. The ADF sourced supplies from the local communities to facilitate the exercise and maintain good commercial and community relations. It is difficult to estimate how much money will be spent; during the 1997 Tandem Thrust exercise in Australia, estimated expenditures were more than 10.5 million U.S. dollars for goods and services by U.S. ships alone during their port calls.
Tandem Thrust 2000
The United States, Australia and Canada joined forces March 15, testing contingency operations in the Pacific during Tandem Thrust '99. Tandem Thrust involved more than 2,000 people and was a combined U.S., Australian and Canadian training exercise conducted on Guam and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The exercise ended April 4. Sponsored by U.S. Pacific Command, Tandem Thrust trained U.S. and Australian defense force staffs on how to plan for and execute contingency operations in the Pacific. To do this, about 10,000 U.S. Navy, Marines, Air Force and Army personnel assigned to the Pacific Command as well as about 1,000 Australian Navy and Air Force members conducted a command post exercise and field training exercise on Guam and the Mariana Islands. In addition, about 800 Canadian naval and air forces are participating as maritime opposition forces. Two B-52 Stratofortress bombers and 103 reservists deployed Mar. 21-22 to Guam to participate in Tandem Thrust '99. The Air Force Reserve people are from maintenance and support organizations of the 917th Wing's 93rd Bomb Squadron. The exercise was designed to bring the United States and Australia together as a combined task force. It involved combined military operations at sea, in the air and on land, and will train participants in crisis action planning and execution for contingency response operations.
Tandem Thrust 2001
As long standing allies, Australia and the U.S. have a history of close cooperation and military training. The purpose of Tandem Thrust 01 (TT'01) was to conduct high end training for a combined U.S. and Australian Defense Force (ADF) staff in crisis action planning for execution of contingency operations, and to carry out follow on field and fleet training exercises with combined Australian and US forces. TT'01 provides ADF and U.S. forces an opportunity to practice working together, and to refine procedures for combined operations. These operations may vary from conventional military efforts, to peace keeping and disaster relief.
The exercise was conducted in two phases: a Command Post Exercise (CPX) conducted in USS BLUE RIDGE from 03 - 11 May 01; and a Field Training Exercise (FTX) conducted from 14 - 30 May 01. The FTX phase will be played out in the Coral Sea and the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) and adjacent seas, including areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). This exercise will further develop the ADF's ability to operate with US forces in a coalition operation. The scenario for TT 01 was not designed to represent any particular country rather, it was designed around a scenario that enables Australian and US staff to conduct crisis action planning.
More than 27,000 personnel participated. More than 15,000 U.S. personnel participated in TT'01, approximately 12,200 Australian personnel participated, and approximately 750 Canadian Sailors and airmen served in the opposing forces for TT'01. Exercise Tandem Thrust will also involve 32 ships and some 200 aircraft. The Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft also participated.
The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) departed Okinawa April 26 after onloading the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to participate in a combined U.S. and Australian military training exercise, Tandem Thrust '01. The Essex ARG will be operating with Australian amphibious ships, which together will make up the Combined Amphibious Ready Group (CARG). The CARG will participate in a series of operations dedicated to increasing the Essex ARG's and Australian amphibious ships' effectiveness to operate as one cohesive unit. USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 departed Japan for their three-and-a-half-month underway period, including Tandem Thrust, several ships, comprising the Kitty Hawk Battle Group, accompanied them on their journey. USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, USS Essex (LHD 2) and the associated battle group and amphibious ready group (ARG) joined Tandem Thrust and completed their roles in the exercise May 21.
This was the third time Tandem Thrust has been held in this form, and the second time in the Shoalwater Bay training area. The Shoalwater Bay training area and Keppel Islands are within the territory of the aboriginal language group Darumbal. Aboriginal land considered to be sacred or of cultural value is not used for military purposes.
Amphibious support provided by the Aussies for Tandem Thrust-01 included a battalion task force from within the 2d Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), which is based in Townsville. The 2RAR was sent to join Battalion Landing Team 1/5, the MEU's ground combat element, to go ashore as part of the landing force. Other support provided to the Tandem Thrust Combined Landing Force, under command of the commanding officer, 31st MEU, included six helicopters: four Blackhawks and two Sea Kings; two newly commissioned Australian amphibious assault ships: HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla; a refueler, HMS Success; a Beach Master Unit from the Australian Army; and combined staff and command and control personnel from the Australian Army and Navy.
Tandem Thrust 2003
More than 8,000 personnel were scheduled to participate in the military training exercise Tandem Thrust 03 in the Marianas Island training area (with some in Hawaii), from April 14 to May 5, 2003. Tandem Thrust 03 is a Pacific Command sponsored joint exercise in the Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands operating areas. The exercise was to focus on crisis action planning and execution of contingency response operations. U.S. Pacific Command units were to conduct land, sea and air training throughout the Marianas Island training area, with some warfighting and support functions conducted from Hawaii.
Tandem Trust 03 provides JTF training for a maritime-based commander and staff in crisis action planning and for execution of contingency operations. Through TT03, the aim is to support U.S. presence and involvement in the region, and improve interoperability between the services using realistic military response scenarios. Over 260 personnel from all services were to embark USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) for the exercise, with other personnel participating from Guam, Tinian and Hawaii.
Operations such as a full-scale amphibious landing, strike bombing runs using live munitions, as well as extensive use of high-end computer driven simulations which are focused on the JTF commander's immediate staff and subordinate staffs, were all scheduled for the nearly three-week exercise.
The Tandem Thrust exercise scenario was to also provide the opportunity to test new military ideas. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Sea Power 21 model incorporates a variety of new strategies, including the Expeditionary Strike Group concept which will be tested through the Fleet Battle Experiment - Kilo process.
The exercise could certify the USS Essex (LHD 2) Amphibious Ready Group, forward-deployed to Fleet Activities, Sasebo, Japan, as the 'standing' expeditionary strike group in the Western Pacific.