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DoD News Briefing - July 30, 1996

Presenters: General John J. Sheehan, USMC, CINC, U.S. Atlantic Command
July 30, 1996

Tuesday, July 30, 1996

96, a joint, multi-national forces exercise scheduled for August 1996 at Camp Lejune, N.C.)

General Sheehan: Good to see you. Welcome back. What I'd like to do is kind of go over Cooperative Osprey. This is a great opportunity for the Pentagon press to come to Camp Lejune, North Carolina in August. I know a number of you have always been looking for the opportunity to come down. This is a great opportunity. It should be about 93 degrees with 95 percent humidity and we have an extra supply of bugs this year, so I just want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to come on down.

What we're going to do is just walk through this thing. It's a Partnership for Peace exercise. It is 16 different partnership peace nations; three NATO nations, and, as you know, from those that had the opportunities to go to Cooperative Osprey -- Cooperative Nugget, I should say -- at Fort Polk, Louisiana, last year, it's very similar except it's a little bit more sophisticated in terms of what we're going to expose the partnership peace nations to.

It's going to be at Camp Lejune, 12th of August through the 30th of August of this year.

What we're going to do is expose the Partnership for Peace nations to a level of sophistication that we have not exposed in the past. For example, we're going to put them aboard ships, let them fly helicopters into the beach, use LCACs, use Harriers; use those types of platforms they would expect to see in peace- keeping operations. We've taken many of the lessons learned from Bosnia, include those in the training package; we're going to train them to NATO standards and -- in addition to the normal kinds of things you see peace-keeping operations.

Those are the countries, starting with Albania, all the way down to Uzbekistan. Many of these nations are already participating in other peace-keeping operations or Partnership for Peace-type activities. And the three NATO nations that you see are Canada, U.S. and the Netherlands. The U.S. and the Netherlands will provide the Marines -- and since it's a maritime environment, the Canadian regular land forces [will be] observers as indicated on the bottom of the chart. Those are the primary people who will attending. This is about 900 troops from the partnership nations, and about 300 to 400 U.S. troops, principally involved in the exercise. That does not count the support troops who are at Camp Lejune running mess halls, base camps, and all those kinds of things.

What are we going to do? As I said before, the context of the operations is Bosnia-type combat operations, but within a humanitarian and a peace-keeping environment. They'll do the normal recovery of downed airmen. They will do -- secur[ing] areas in an urban environment that exists in Camp Lejune -- in the sense that there's a combat training town that was built there. It's instrumented. They will go through all those types of training. There's six different stations they will go through. And then they will clearly they'll go through the whole thing business of moving from an amphibious environment, or maritime operation, into the Partnership for Peace area. In addition, the cultural activity we expose them to when they are in the United States.

That's the last chart. So what I'd like to do is answer questions. Please?

 

Q: Was Russia invited?

A: Russia was invited.

Q: Oh well. Did they decline? Did they give a reason?

A: Russia, for some reason -- I was in Moscow about two months ago visiting the general staff, and they have the very fixed scheduling process, and this particular exercise did not make their schedule.

Q: Are you in the process -- you've got most of the partnership members there -- are you evaluating them individually, as potential NATO members -- in the process of this?

A: We train the standard. Last year, for example, Fort Polk, Louisiana, I sent each of the chiefs of defense, and chiefs of service a written evaluation -- the performance of the platoon that attended the training. We will do exactly the same thing again this year. We have established and prebriefed the countries as to what the NATO standards are. These are not report cards, in the pass/fail kind of approach, but rather, these are the kinds of things that the nations need to improve on, in order to reach interoperable standards.

What we found out, and part of the reason we raised the threshold this year, is that the -- over the last year and a half or so, the quality of the training and the quality of the people that they send to the Partnership for Peace exercise is improving. So what we're trying to do is keep moving this so that they're absolutely interoperable. And they've done very well. For example, in Bosnia -- for example -- and so I think what we're trying to do is keep raising these standards to improve the quality of their training.

Q: Why observer status? What -- why didn't those countries active participants?

A: Each country makes a decision as to what they want to do. In some cases, because their troops are committed to other types of activities -- they will send observers. So, each country has an election in terms of how it wants to participate, and that's up to the individual country.

We just finished, for example, a large exercise in the Black Sea with the Romanians, and so some of these countries, again, have elected just do it in observer status. I think part of it is because they -- they're not quite sure what a maritime environment looks like, and they didn't feel as though it was appropriate for their troops, so they just want come out and watch.

Q: How much will it cost and who will pay for it?

A: The cost is about 8.5 million dollars. Much of the funding is coming from Nunn-Lugar type money. It's coming from our training budget. The vast majority of that expense is the airlift cost to fly to 16 different nations to pick up our people and bring them to the United States. The countries themselves will absorb their own end costs for the preparation of their troops, and all those types of costs associated prior to their departure; ammunition costs, etcetera. We will pay transportation and housing costs in the United States.

Q: What cultural activities are planned for them?

A: Normal kinds of things. We're going to bring them to Washington, D.C.; give them an opportunity to see what the decision cycle is up here; take them to the Air and Space museum; take them to the beach in North Carolina; take them to the various places like Kings Dominion, etcetera.

Q: What's the largest contingent, or how do they break down?

A: They all run about 40 to 50 people. It's a basic platoon. They'll send support personnel, whether it's a chaplain, whether it's a doctor; each will also send a couple of observers. These are usually colonels or generals and what we're going to do with the observers is take them to our JTASC -- Joint Training Analysis Simulation Center. We will teach them staff training procedures, because at the end of this evolution, we're going to put them all on a field for a field training exercise. And again, as part of this upgrade in the training, they'll actually function as operations officers, logistic officers in hopes that we'll raise the level of their experience in training.

Q: General, you said you wrote and evaluation on last year's exercise. You know, Congress was trying to speed up the process, including new members and NATO? What's your judgment? How it ready are those nations to join as full partners?

A: There's a couple of different dimensions associated with NATO inclusion. What we're doing the Partnership for Peace program is what I call "tactical and operational activity." In order for a nation to participate and become part of the membership of NATO -- there has to be transferencies in certain kinds of defense budget activities. There has to be civilian oversight of the military. All the kinds of construct that have been outlined in the NATO Communiqué. We don't evaluate that part of the process. That's why when the enlargement process takes place, it's up to each individual nation -- the applying nation and then the 16 nations to kind of vote on whether NATO is, in fact, enlarged and what the process they do use -- and what countries are included in that process. We do not do that evaluation.

Q: Operationally and tactically how are they?

A: They are very, very good. There are clearly grades of being very good. But in every instance, I would say that they're quite capable. We have learned a great deal from some of them because peace-keeping operations are conducted very differently in different parts of the world. But I think on average, I'd be willing to go somewhere with most of these troops.

Q: How are you [inaudible] the gaps on technology, particularly communications?

A: We provide to those countries that don't have the communications frequencies sets that are compatible with the U.S., communications system during the process. But that's one of the interoperable standards that we've identified to NATO; that as we move towards this enlargement process, the countries that become part of NATO have got to have the same compatible communications gear.

Q: Some of interest I see with this are the exercise, do you distrust essentially, what I call, "water operations"? The - - the pilots who are out in the water, amphibious landings. And then how many of these nations that are participating are land- locked nations? Do you have any exercises essentially, for what I call "corps-land operations"?

A: Well, first off, the "downed pilot syndrome" is not a water operation. This is not recovery while at sea. This is recovery over land. And the urban environment is in a land context -- context. So those training principles are applicable whether you're coming from the sea, or whether you're in fact in a continental space.

 

The reason that we're trying to expose the partner nations to this kind of a context, is just the very demographics of what's happening in the world. Five to ten years from now, depending on which demographic figures you look at, about 70 to 75 percent of the world's population is going to be within a 100 plus miles of the coast; plus the urbanization that's taking place in large cities. And so any peace-keeping operation is talking about most parts of the world in the future, are going to be on or near the coast. And so, just the fact that you're in a land-locked country doesn't preclude you participating in this type of activity. And so what it is, is just an experimentation process and exposure process, that gives them the opportunity to see these kinds of activities.

Q: Is there any sort of equipment that you've purchased to make this exercise happen, or is this all from within?

A: Those are all from within the DOD inventory.

Q: Speaking of training, if I could ask you about the contingency training in Haiti and what the impetus for that was. Is the situation in Haiti very dire right now?

A: No. This is always a planned activity. First off, we -- we practice for most of the forces that we have under USACOM, which is about 80 percent of combat capability in the United States. But once a month we pack up an organization -- in this particular case, it was the re-inforced company -- and we sent them to Haiti. We do that in different parts of the United States. We will do it -- Marines -- in the not too distance future -- Partially because we're the response force, for whatever happens.

Haiti happens to be next on training environment. It's one of those kinds of places we can send people, and we discussed with President Preval and the American ambassador. They're basically down there for a week. They're doing urban work -- urban training, but they're doing it in support of the U.S. support group that's doing the engineering effort down there. You may know that President Preval is going to open up, or cut the ribbon, to open -- start the construction of a road tomorrow which is attempting to open up the Site Soleil. We'll start outside, or five miles outside the city. And so the Seabees are down there, and so we're just doing basic training.

Q: Could you say which U.S. units will be working with this group in the exercise?

A: Which U.S. units? The U.S. Marines from Camp Lejune North Carolina, the Dutch Marines and the Canadian Forces.

Thank you very much. Have a great time. See you at Camp Lejune.

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