The conclusion of Exercise Talisman Sabre marked the meeting of a number of milestones and achievements, while also improving Australia’s military co-operation with key ally the United States.
At the conclusion of the exercise in Brisbane, Luke Howarth, federal member for Petrie representing Minister for Defence Marise Payne, was joined by the US consul-general Valerie Fowler, Commander US Pacific Fleet Admiral Scott Swift and Commanding General US Army Pacific General Robert Brown, at the closing ceremony aboard the carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said the exercise, now in its seventh iteration, had been the most complex, challenging and fulfilling Talisman Sabre to date.
"Co-operation between the ADF, other government agencies and the forces of the United States and other international participants has been exceptional," said VADM Johnston.
"The exercise has given all participants, from the staff of the highest headquarters down to the most junior servicemen and women, a rich training experience.
The exercise, which was the result of two years of planning, involved approximately 33,000 participants, 36 warships and over 220 aircraft.
"The purpose of the exercise was to advance Australian and US interoperability in warfare against a similarly equipped, trained and motivated adversary," VADM Johnston said.
"This exercise included emerging features of modern warfare such as space and cyber challenges."
The exercise also included a combined amphibious assault involving Australian, US and New Zealand forces.
Representatives from 24 other nations were also given the opportunity to observe portions of the exercise.
This iteration of Talisman Sabre saw an expansion of the involvement of non-Defence agencies, exemplifying the importance of inter-departmental co-operation in contemporary warfare.
A focus of the exercise was the implementation by both Australian and US militaries of the objectives in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security.
ADM Swift said Australian and US military co-operation had been enhanced as a result of the exercise.
"The Talisman Sabre exercise series shows in tangible, physical terms that our alliance continues to strengthen and deepen," ADM Swift said.
"It also shows how far we have come in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, setting the example of how, with an accepted and implemented rules-based order, security can lead to stability, which in turn will lead to prosperity."
Talisman Sabre and its associated infrastructure stretched from the east coast of the US to Alaska, Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Darwin, Brisbane and Canberra, with land and maritime training areas in between.