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U.S. Forces Work With Partners in Numerous Military Exercises

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2017 — Military exercises are underway between U.S. military forces and those of many other nations, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, told reporters today.

In the Pacific region, Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 involves more than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel who are participating in the biennial military training exercise in Australia, June 23 to July 25.

U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force personnel, as well as Australian forces and members of other government agencies in both countries are participating in Talisman Saber, which is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and the Australian military's Joint Operations Command.

It features 21 ships, including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and more than 200 joint aircraft. This year's seventh iteration of the exercise is focusing on training a combined task force of U.S. and Australian forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario, incorporating interagency participation, along with a command post exercise involving a transition between a three- and four-star headquarters.

"Talisman Saber 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," Davis said.

Africa Exercises

In Africa, The U.S. military, in partnership with the South African military, will conduct Shared Accord 2017, a command post exercise and field training exercise at South Africa's combat training center. It began today and runs to Aug. 3.

"Shared Accord 2017 is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together U.S. forces and partner nations to foster security cooperation while improving operational planning and mission command capabilities," Davis said.

"Shared Accord promotes regional relationships, increases capacity, trains U.S. and South African forces, and furthers cross training and interoperability," he added.

The exercise will provide participating military forces the skills required to enable readiness in support of peacekeeping operations, Davis said, noting that the U.S. military is getting valuable training as well, in areas such as planning for peace support operations, combined command and expeditionary operations.

United Kingdom - Royal International Air Tattoo

In the United Kingdom over the weekend, U.S. airmen and sailors participated in flying demonstrations and static displays for the Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Fairford.

"U.S. participation in RIAT highlighted the strength of the U.S. commitment to European security, the NATO alliance, our ever-strong alliance with U.K., and demonstrates interoperability with allies and partners from around the world," Davis said.

This year's airshow also was designated as a commemoration for the U.S. Air Force's 70th birthday by U.S. Air Forces in Europe with the theme "American Airmen: Breaking Barriers since 1947."

Europe Exercises

Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led multinational exercise, is nearing completion in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. The exercise began July 11 and will end July 20. Saber Guardian 17 is larger in both scale and scope over previous iterations, Davis said. About 25,000 service members from 22 allied and partner nations are taking part, he added, and the exercise highlights participant deterrence capabilities -- specifically, the ability to mass forces at any given time anywhere in Europe.

Davis also highlighted several enabling and integrated exercises:

-- Tobruq Legacy 2017, a U.S.-led air defense artillery exercise July 12-22 at several Czech Republic, Lithuanian and Romanian locations;

-- Swift Response 2017, a U.S.-led, airborne exercise involving the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team at several Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian locations July 13-23; and

-- Sea Breeze 2017, a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-led multinational exercise in the Black Sea supporting NATO's Partnership for Peace initiative, July 11-21;

Allied and partner exercises involving about 40,000 personnel from 30 nations comprise the Black Sea Region Exercises for 2017, with Saber Guardian 17 being the largest, Davis said. While each is separate and distinct, the exercises as a whole demonstrate the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners as well as NATO's superior joint and combined capabilities, and they highlight the collective will to defend against regional aggression, Davis said.

South America – UNITAS

Naval maritime forces from 18 countries gathered in Lima, Peru, for the 58th iteration of the annual multilateral exercise UNITAS, which starts today and runs through July 26, the captain said. 

This year's exercise is hosted by Peru. Participating countries include the United States, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Panama, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.

UNITAS 2017 comprises two concurrent phases:

-- UNITAS Pacific is designed to train each navy to conduct combined naval operations through the execution of littoral warfare, anti-piracy, maritime interdiction operations, countering transnational organized crime, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, communications exercises, and air and amphibious operations to increase the capabilities of participating naval and marine forces.

-- UNITAS Amphibious is designed to enhance interoperability and improve partner nations' ability to plan combined amphibious operations, stability operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in the region.

UNITAS began in 1960, making it the world's longest-running annual multinational maritime exercise. It has evolved over many years, Davis said, and now includes training for 21st-century threats that are encountered in today's maritime environment.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)