News

Exercise Talisman Saber 17 Commences in Australia

June 29, 2017 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

Talisman Saber is a realistic and challenging exercise that provides opportunities for the United States and Australia to innovatively prepare for regional and global security challenges, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said today.

Marines with Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit rappel from a Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during training aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 25, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Stormy Mendez
Marines with Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit rappel from a Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during training aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 25, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Stormy Mendez
Marines with Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit rappel from a Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during training aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 25, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Stormy Mendez
Fast-Roping
Marines with Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Maritime Raid Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit rappel from a Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during training aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard while underway in the Pacific Ocean, June 25, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Stormy Mendez
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Stormy Mendez
VIRIN: 170625-M-GO150-256

Speaking at the opening ceremony aboard the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard at sea off the coast of eastern Australia, the admiral said Pacom is partnering in the biennial exercise with Australian allies for high-end warfighting scenarios for the seventh time. About 33,000 American and Australian service members are taking part.

“Exercises like Talisman Saber are precisely where we really learn how to take advantage of cutting-edge technology to outpace our adversaries,” Harris said. “It’s also a perfect place for our forces to operationalize a very important concept.”

The Pacom commander said he has challenged the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to execute multi-domain battle, “to find new ways to enable our joint and multinational combined forces to be faster, more precise, more cost-effective, and most importantly, more lethal.

‘Endless Possibilities’

“When I look at the Bonhomme Richard, I see endless possibilities for the future,” Harris said. “After all, you could say that amphibious ships are the original multi-domain battle platforms operating from the air, from the sea and from the land. So I need this blue-green team to lead the way during this exercise.”

Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 is the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group’s final certification, he said.

Harris noted that the exercise will support the eventual realization of the “up-gunned expeditionary strike group” concept, which integrates the assets of an amphibious ready group or a Marine expeditionary unit with F-35 Lightning II aircraft, cruiser-destroyer ships and other assets. "Such a force presents greater challenges to our adversaries and more options to our joint and combined component commanders," he said. 

“I recognize this will be challenging, but as a combatant commander, I need you to create effects from any single domain to targets in every domain in order to fight tonight and win,” the admiral told exercise participants.

“If we have to fight tonight, I don't want it to be a fair fight,” Harris said. “If it’s a knife fight, I want to bring a gun. If it’s a gunfight, I want to bring in the MEU and the artillery of our friends, partners and allies … especially, like Australia.”

U.S.-Australia Alliance

Asking service members to remember the importance of the U.S.-Australia alliance, the admiral reminded them the alliance was forged in battle a century ago.

“We fought and died together in World Wars I and II. We fought communism in the hot wars in Korea and Vietnam and the Cold War throughout the latter half of the 20th century,” he said. “We fought together in the Gulf War. For the last decade-plus, we’ve fought side-by-side in the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And today, Australia is a global leader in the fight against [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria].”

The bond between the two nations is as important to their futures as it has been to their storied pasts, Harris said. “This alliance has strengthened peace and prosperity not only in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, but across the globe,” he added.

Train hard, safely and jointly, with a willingness to learn from each other, Harris told exercise participants.

“Strive to become a more interoperable, high-end fighting force,” he said. “Learn from your mistakes and take our training to the next level. Forge relationships that you can call on during crises, because we’re in this together.”

Harris added, “The Australia-U.S. alliance matters more today than ever before. It matters to our two great nations. It matters to the Indo-Asia-Pacific. And, it matters to world. No one should doubt the staying power of this alliance to maintain security, prosperity and peace in this vital region.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDOD)