USS George Washington (CVN 76) transits the East China Sea 

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey H. Kyhl
U.S., Australian Forces to Conduct Major Exercise 
From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs  
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - More than 22,000 U.S. and Australian personnel will participate in the military training exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 in Australia during July.

Talisman Sabre, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force (ADF) Joint Operations Command, will train the U.S. 7th Fleet and Australian Deployable Joint Headquarters staffs as a designated Combined Task Force.

Approximately 14,000 U.S. and 8,500 Australian personnel will take part. Talisman Sabre will be conducted July 11 – 29, with the main exercise commencing July 18 – 29. Brigadier Bob Brown, the Australian spokesman for Talisman Sabre, said that the exercise provides an invaluable opportunity to conduct operations in a combined and joint environment that will increase both countries’ ability to plan and execute contingency responses, from combat missions to humanitarian assistance efforts.

He said Australia and the United States are committed to delivering disaster relief and humanitarian assistance and that exercising interoperability with the U.S. and other mission participants assists in the development of proficiency in this area.

For the first time there will be significant involvement from other Australian and United States government agencies making this a truly collaborative whole-of-government effort.

Active participation by Australian government entities includes the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Australian Civilian Corps, the Australian Federal Police, and the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence.

U.S. participating agencies include the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization and members of the U.S. Civilian Response Corps from: the Departments of State, Justice, Commerce, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Other direct U.S. participation outside the Civilian Response Corps includes USAID and the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

This joint cooperation will further strengthen civil-military collaboration for future operations and the bilateral partnerships between the United States and Australia.

“Talisman Sabre 2011 is a biennial training activity aimed at improving ADF and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability as a Combined Joint Task Force. The inclusion of Australian and United States Government and Policing agencies will enhance our ability to work collaboratively in support of future complex operations, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters,” Brown said.

United States and Australian forces will conduct land, sea and air training throughout various training areas.

The training will be concentrated in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area near Rockhampton in central Queensland, but will also include training locations at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Townsville, RAAF Base Darwin, RAAF Base Tindal, RAAF Base Amberley, Canungra and the maritime areas of the Coral, Timor and Arafura Seas.

“Talisman Sabre is a realistic and challenging exercise that brings us together with our Australian allies to improve our ability to work both bilaterally and multilaterally, and be poised to provide security for own citizens both regionally and globally,” said Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet and overall combined task force commander for Talisman Sabre.

The U.S. and Australia train and work together in a variety of exercises and missions throughout the year including Pacific Partnership which is the largest humanitarian and civic assistance mission in the Asia-Pacific. Pacific Partnership began early April and will conclude in late July.

“This year marks the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty, an alliance which has played a vital role in defining our military cooperation in this region and beyond,” Van Buskirk said. “We collaborate extensively in a number of areas, including information sharing, intelligence, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and these efforts help shape a more stable, prosperous region.”

This exercise is a major undertaking which reflects the closeness of the Australian and U.S. alliance and the strength of the military-to-military relationship.

Additional information on the exercise is available on the U.S. Pacific Fleet website at http://www.cpf.navy.mil/talisman-sabre/ or through a link from the Australian Defence Force site at http://www.defence.gov.au/opEx/exercises/ts11/.
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