U.S. aircraft carriers USS George H.W. Bush and Gerald R. Ford are now engaged in a regularly scheduled multination multi-carrier exercise to showcase the cohesion and interoperability of participants. The operation takes place in the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and parts of the Mediterranean Sea, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said.
The maritime operation is formed around the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, and also includes the Italian carrier Cavour, and the United Kingdom's HMS Queen Elizabeth.
"These operations present an opportunity for allied nations to coordinate credible combat power throughout the Euro/Atlantic area, while showcasing NATO cohesion and interoperability," Singh said during a briefing today at the Pentagon. "It is also an opportunity to test allied cooperation and to practice NATO's deter and defend concepts across all geographic areas, operational domains and functional areas of the Alliance."
On the other side of the globe, Singh said, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Japan Self-Defense Force have partnered up for Exercise Keen Sword 2023.
"This field training exercise will increase the readiness and interoperability of ... [III Marine Expeditionary Force] and our Japanese and joint force partners in order to protect and preserve regional peace and stability," Singh said. "This biannual exercise will test Marines and their Japanese counterparts in command and control of maritime strikes and amphibious force actions. This demonstration of stand-in force capabilities provides assurance to our partners and allies of readiness to rapidly counter aggression in the region."
During this year's Keen Sword 2023, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force's Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade and Marines from III MEF will conduct amphibious landings side-by-side in the vicinity of mainland Japan.
Poland Will Investigate Missile Strike
On Tuesday, a missile struck Przewodow, inside Poland, near its border with Ukraine. While there's been speculation on what type of missile that was and who might have fired it, President Joe Biden has said, based on the trajectory of the missile, it is unlikely the missile was fired by the Russians.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has also said the department has not yet seen any indication that might contradict the assessment from Polish President Andrzej Duda, who said the missile was likely launched by the Ukrainians as part of air defense efforts, and that it unfortunately landed in Poland.
Singh told reporters that Poland is conducting the investigation into the missile strike and the department is ready to assist, if asked.
"As you know, the Polish government is leading the investigation. We have full confidence in their deliberate manner and how they're conducting the investigation," Singh said. "The secretary spoke with his Polish counterpart earlier this week … [and] the secretary made clear also here yesterday following the Ukraine Defense Contact Group that we've offered our support to Poland as they conduct this investigation."