Talisman Saber 2013 combines U.S., Aussie, NZ BCDs

| August 2, 2013 | 0 Comments
Civilians and members of the Royal Australian Air Force deplane a KC-30, July 12, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, after arriving to support Talisman Saber 2013. The exercise is a biennial combined training activity, designed to train Australian and U.S. forces in planning and conducting Combined Task Force operations in order to improve combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Allen)

Civilians and members of the Royal Australian Air Force deplane a KC-30, July 12, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, after arriving to support Talisman Saber 2013. The exercise is a biennial combined training activity, designed to train Australian and U.S. forces in planning and conducting Combined Task Force operations in order to improve combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Allen)

Sgt. 1st Class Karry James
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command
Public Affairs

More than 27,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are participating in training exercise Talisman Saber 2013, being conducted at multiple locations in the U.S. and Australia, July 15-Aug. 5.

The focus of the exercise is to improve joint combat training, readiness and interoperability by bringing the nations’ service members closer, improving their ability to work together and preparing them to provide regional and global security.

This focus holds true to members of the Combined Battlefield Coordination Detachment (C-BCD) participating in the exercise from the Pacific Air Force’s 613th Air and Space Operations Center (AOC), here.

This team was comprised of members from the U.S. Army-Pacific’s 5th BCD, the Australian army’s 6th Brigade and the New Zealand army’s 16th Field Regiment. Thirteen Australian and three New Zealand soldiers traveled to Hawaii to combine with the 40 members of the 5th BCD for Talisman Saber 2013.

The C-BCD’s mission during this year’s exercise is to liaison with the Combined Forces Air Component Commander (Pacific Air Forces), in support of the Combined Forces Land Component Commander (I Corps), to coordinate ground, air and intelligence activities, facilitating both agile mission command and component-level synchronization of the combined and joint force, in order to enable cross-domain integration into unified land operations.

“The BCD is a mission command node supporting U.S. Army forces in the Pacific during phase zero operations as well as during contingency or crisis,” said Col. Jon Howerton, commander, 5th BCD. “Our role in the AOC is to integrate airpower into the Army force’s scheme of maneuver and facilitate common situational awareness and mutual understanding of what is happening in both domains, so commanders can make better, more informed, quicker decisions that help reduce risk to force and to mission.”

Howerton added that the importance of U.S., Australian and New Zealand soldiers combining as a BCD during the exercise was to further enhance the interoperability between the mission partners through continuing relationship building, developing common operating procedures and gaining a better understanding of each others’ capabilities.

“Having a combined BCD is a key initiative in our ability to enable the combined and joint force,” Howerton said.

“These partnerships are very important for all sides from a practical perspective in that they foster redundancy and allow them all to develop skills that can be drawn upon in the event of a crisis,” said Capt. Samuel Baumgarten, aviation, air defense and air-space management officer, 6th Brigade, Australian army. “It also allows cross-pollination of ideas and learning from one anothers’ techniques and experiences, and particularly for Australians to observe a more experienced standing capability that we don’t always, as a smaller army, have exposure to.”

“The BCD is a new concept for New Zealand and for me,” said Staff Sgt. Heath Southcombe, battery guide, 163 Battery (Close Support), 16th Field Regiment, New Zealand army. “It has been a very rewarding exercise; there’s a lot of experience that I am taking in, and I think that, if anything, it’s about establishing a rapport with our American allies and strengthening our relationship with our Australian allies, as well.”

“The advantages of coming to U.S. facilities for us is that it allows us to train on equipment, especially the vast computer networking capability, that we don’t have in Australia,” said Lt. Col. Grant Cassar, director, Army Air Support, 6th Bde., Australian army, and deputy commander, C-BCD.

The challenge that the soldiers from Australian and New Zealand discovered, however, is in working with the sheer size of the U.S. military’s assets all over the globe.

Cassar said, “The Australian AOC is kind of small, and a lot of what we do, we can be dual-hatted, so you find that we do what we do with a smaller number of people, and getting our heads around the scale of what we are talking about with the volume, breadth and reach of those (American) assets gets interesting.”

Talisman Saber 2013 marks the fifth time that this combined exercise has been conducted. The training merges two previous exercises, Tandem Thrust and Crocodile, into one biennial, joint combined exercise. The single exercise is designed to maintain a high level of interoperability between U.S., and Australian military forces and other government agencies.

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Category: News, Training

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