Personnel from Brisbane’s 7th Combat Brigade and supporting elements from the 6th Brigade are taking part in the multi-national Joint Warfighting Assessment 2021 (JWA 21) at Fort Carson in the United States.
The 141 ADF personnel participating in the exercise left Gallipoli Barracks in early June, with the aim of strengthening ties with strategic allies and partners.
In the US, they are practising fighting against a notional enemy alongside the US, Canadian and British armies, with the Australians using a computer-generated concept of what the Army would look like in the year 2028.
Working long days and nights, the Australian contingent planned their manoeuvre for the notional war for weeks before the exercise commenced via a 24/7 digital simulation.
Brigade Major, Major Sam Thackray, said he was impressed with the contingent’s efforts during the planning phase, which gave the Australians a decent start when the simulated conflict began.
“JWA 21 presents a unique opportunity to work in a multi-national division, assessing our interoperability with our partners in a simulated environment,” Major Thackray said.
“The 7th Combat Brigade team was extremely well-prepared for the activity, conducting two exercises prior to deploying to Fort Carson to develop the knowledge required to participate effectively.”
Major Thackray said there were many advantages to working in person with the ADF’s strategic partners in the US, Canadian and British armies, and was grateful for the opportunity to deploy to the US.
“7th Combat Brigade has made a significant contribution to the ADF’s support on domestic operations including floods, bushfires and COVID-19 in the past 18 months, so we are making the most of the experience to update our warfighting foundations,” he said.
“For many of our people, this is their first time training in a multi-national team; they are enjoying the experience of employing future capabilities and are learning plenty.
“It’s a privilege to represent the ADF overseas.”
Commander of the 7th Combat Brigade Brigadier Jason Blain said he was pleased with how JWA 21 was progressing, outlining the importance of combined exercises with strategic partners.
“At any time, Australia has around 500 Defence personnel in the United States, working alongside our counterparts,” Brigadier Blain said.
“Our alliance is our strongest defence relationship, forged through fighting side-by-side on combat operations for over 100 years.
“The relationship is underpinned by cooperation through training exercises like the Joint Warfighting Assessment, combat operations, shared intelligence, capability development and deep people-to-people links.
“To be able to also share this learning experience with partners from the British and Canadian armies is a unique and valuable opportunity.
“Exercises like this remind us of our strong ties.”
All ADF personnel deployed on JWA 21 will continue to fight the simulated battle from Fort Carson until the end of June.
They will complete 14 days of quarantine on their return to Australia before going back to work.