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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 584-03
August 09, 2003

Bright Star 2003 Exercise Canceled

The Department of Defense announced today that the United States has decided it will not be able to participate in this year’s Bright Star exercise scheduled for next month.  The decision was made in view of continued operations in the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere by the United States and other nations.  The Bright Star exercise will not be held this year. 

“This was an extremely difficult decision,” said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  “Given our current worldwide commitments, it seemed best to take a temporary break from this exercise, as we did after Operation Desert Storm.  Bright Star is one of our most important exercises and reflects the value we attach to our strong relationship with Egypt, he said.”

Bright Star is a combined exercise conducted bi-annually since 1981 in which more than 70,000 troops from more than 10 countries normally participate.

The Department regularly evaluates the potential impact of scheduled exercises on real world operations.  To date, for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2002, 49 of 182 exercises originally intended have been canceled or rescheduled.