UNITED KINGDOM (NNS) -- In the midst of a full-fledged multinational exercise off the coast of the United Kingdom this May, U.S. Navy and Royal Navy leadership are collaborating with one another to form a stronger joint, allied force for current and future operations at sea.
With seven countries participating in the Joint Warrior 09-1 exercise to hone the battle skills and readiness of allied forces, the American and Royal fleet are learning and drawing from one another's expertise and skill sets.
"We want to help as much as we can, because that strengthens the bond between the U.S. and the Royal Navy, which is historically already unbelievably strong," said Capt. John Kersh, commodore, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 24. "We are teaming with some of our strongest allies and partners so that we can all draw upon these good feelings when we get in theater. It's a very, very positive relationship."
As Joint Warrior takes place in the U.K., Royal Navy officials are visiting the States to learn more about the U.S. Navy's expertise in aircraft carrier-centric operations at Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL). With the Royal Navy making preparations to add two more aircraft carriers to their fleet, senior leadership is drawing upon U.S. expertise and example in training carriers and associated staffs to successfully fulfill missions abroad.
"Our organization stateside is set up to train an entire strike group and staff, whereas theirs is geared toward training individual ships at higher levels", said Kersh. They can take what they learn from us and apply it to carrier strike group organization, and we learn their individual ship ops expertise and communication styles, in addition to near-land procedures and NATO rules of engagement."
With so much partnered alignment between U.S. and Royal Navy leadership, sharing relative strengths to provide ready, allied maritime forces for global assignment will play a pivotal role in the execution of the American maritime strategy. Multiplatform coalition exercises like Joint Warrior only strengthen the existing teamwork and operational efficiency between the partnered nations.
"It takes a lot of resources to put this coalition-intensive exercise together, sequenced correctly and with so many intricacies involved," said Kersh. "But it's so important because in a real-life, in-theater situation, things could get complicated very quickly if we don't thoroughly understand how our allies operate. Working together so closely beforehand helps to side-step a learning curve; we need to be fully battle-ready together now, not when we get over in theater and it's time to perform."
Joint Warrior is a two-week, multinational training evolution incorporating five U.S. Navy units and a host of allied forces, focusing heavily on strategic training evolutions and strengthening partnerships between NATO members. The exercise also integrates Fleet Irregular Warfare Training (FIWT), placing emphasis on more non-traditional warfare areas like counter-piracy and theater security, in addition to calculated responses to some of the newer emergent threats around the globe.
"Opportunities for us to work with our allies during exercises like JW are vital," said Lt. Cmdr. Dave Jones, weapon engineer officer for the Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll (F231). "They allow us to practice common procedures at all levels of warfare, from humanitarian aid and enforcing embargoes to high-intensity warfighting. We can meet face to face, talk as one professional mariner to another, and gain a better understanding of each other's cultures and ways of life, strengthening at an individual level the common interests our two nations share."
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