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    Exercise Bright Star 23

    U.S. Army Lt. Gen, Patrick Frank, U.S. Army Central Commanding General, engages in a leader’s panel discussion during exercise Bright Star 2023

    Photo By Sgt. Joaquin Vasquez-Duran | U.S. Army Lt. Gen, Patrick Frank, U.S. Army Central Commanding General, engages in a...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Joaquin Vasquez-Duran 

    Task Force Spartan

    CAIRO – In a world marked by rapid geopolitical shifts and evolving threats, exercise Bright Star 2023 stands as a beacon of enduring military partnership and camaraderie between the U.S. and participating nations. This multinational exercise, rooted in the sands of Egypt, not only showcases tactical prowess and strategic coordination but, more profoundly, underscores the timeless values of trust, mutual respect, and cooperation.Militaries from around the world gathered in Egypt. Not as tourists and not as treasure hunters but as members of one of the largest military exercises in the region has seen: Bright Star 2023.

    Through repeated drills and the roar of engines, the bonds forged between soldiers from diverse backgrounds echo a message of unity — emphasizing that in the intricate dance of diplomacy and defense, friendship and collaboration remain our most potent tools against common challenges.

    On the very soil where pharaohs once reigned, a symphony of roaring engines and synchronized explosives echoed like ancient war drums. The tales of their ancient empires parallel the modern armies, penning a legendary chapter in a saga of diplomacy, defense and arms.

    The Exercise: A complex moving puzzle

    Since 1980, Bright Star has been one of the longest-running exercises in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. After a pause in 2009, the multilateral Bright Star exercise resumed on a bilateral basis beginning in 2017, with a greater focus on realistic scenarios and modern threats. A total of 32 countries, over 8,000 international troops, including 2,500 Egyptian troops and 1,500 from the U.S., attended Exercise Bright Star 23.

    Exercise Bright Star is a massive operation. Organizing a single exercise for one unit has
    complexities in itself that involve the logistical movement of troops, equipment, their maintenance, lodging, and, of course, the meals required to keep them fueled for their hard day’s work. Between airborne operations, explosive ordnance detonation with robotics, drone demonstrations, and combined armed live fire exercises, there was a large amount to understand during Bright Star 23.

    That level of complexity can increase when incorporating another unit. It doubles when including another branch, and exponentially increases when including an entirely other country. These challenges stack together, creating a four-dimensional puzzle bending the above factors through a lens of cultural confusion and translation challenges between dozens of nations and multiple languages. Any minor setback or small challenge is in the end, eclipsed by the massive success that took place.

    Col. Dexter Jordan, training exercise chief of U.S. Army Central Command, said this exercise tested the readiness and capabilities to deploy forces.

    “We built a really good relationship with our Egyptian partners,” said Jordan. “We have been here on multiple occasions and have had great opportunities not only to train the Egyptians but the other countries participating.”

    This exercise provides a forum for addressing relevant regional issues associated with enhancing regional security and cooperation, promoting coalition interoperability in irregular warfare, and improving interoperability throughout the full range of military operations.

    The Players: The world seeks collaborative defense strategies

    Countries are split into two groups - participants and observers. The participating nations cooperate on drills that include live fire, vehicle maneuvering, and even aircraft refueling. These drills, despite requiring a linguist to translate, cross all cultural, language, religious, and state boundaries in terms of their use. One example is the use of medical procedures in the combat zone.

    Lance Cpl. Jodie Newell, a combat medical technician in the British army, led a medical training session during one of the situational training exercises in which she taught care under fire, tactical field care, and casualty evacuation.

    Newell, who has done medical training in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and Uganda in the past, says she is excited and grateful to be teaching Egyptian and Qatari soldiers.

    “They respect us and listen to us, and that’s all that any instructor could ask for, really,” Newell said.

    While some tactics are timeless, there exists a changing battlefield that doesn’t include the need for tourniquets - but circuits, gears, and automation.

    A U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal team demonstrated the use of robotics for the removal of explosives on the battlefield. One of the Sailors passed the controller to an Egyptian counterpart and assisted the maneuvers with instructions.

    “We have enjoyed our time at Bright Star 23,” a Navy EOD technician said. “We worked with multiple nations and exchanged best practices on a wide range of EOD actions. EOD is a tough job that requires constant learning, and Bright Star 23 allowed our team to do exactly that.”

    EOD robots stand at the forefront of technological advancement in modern defense tactics. Serving as a bridge between human intuition and robotic precision, these machines specialize in the detection, assessment, and neutralization of potential explosive threats. By allowing military and law enforcement teams to maintain a safe distance from these threats, EOD robots can dramatically reduce the risk to human life during bomb disposal operations.

    Nations are eager to share and adapt to more of these innovations. For instance, collaboration with the Indian Army, known for its vast operational experience across diverse terrains, provides an excellent opportunity for mutual learning and the fine-tuning of such robotic and other applications in real-world scenarios.

    “Exercise Bright Star 23 will provide a unique opportunity to the Indian Army to share best practices and experiences with other armies besides enhancing the defense cooperation. Indian Army looks forward to an enriching professional experience from the Exercise.” India’s Ministry of Defense said in a press release.

    The Watchers: Countries globally recognize the value of shared defense exercises

    The exercises will provide our military the opportunity to maintain strategic mobility and improve tactical proficiency while strengthening relationships, interoperability with our partners, and contributing to our integrated deterrence of regional aggression.

    The emphasis on multinational collaboration and interoperability could serve as a template for other nations. Such collaborative endeavors can not only reinforce defense ties but also foster mutual understanding among diverse forces.

    Japanese Col. Masanori Matsumuto, Defense Attache from the Embassy of Japan, attended exercise Bright Star 2023 as an observer.

    “Bright Star 2023 has many common issues which we must deal with,” Matsumuto said. “So, I believe it is very useful for us to participate in it.”.

    Brazilian Col. Mario Carvalho, Defense Attache’s Office at the Brazilian Embassy in Egypt, was present for both the closing forum and combined armed live fire exercise.

    “Despite the geographic distance, Brazil acknowledges the strategic importance of North Africa and the Middle East due to their geographic positions,” Carvalho said. “In the era of globalization, any instability or conflicts in a region of the world can potentially impact Brazil’s security.”

    Success Through Unity

    In the vastness of the Egyptian desert, where the legacies of ancient pharaohs blend seamlessly with modern ambitions, Exercise Bright Star 2023 culminated not just as a military drill, but as an emblem of international unity.

    This exercise, monumental in scale and significance, embodies the spirit of global defense collaboration, forging bonds that transcend borders, languages, and cultures. It serves as a resounding testament to the belief that in a world rife with uncertainties, cohesive multinational alliances are the linchpin to safeguarding peace and prosperity.

    U.S. Army Lt. Gen, Patrick Frank, U.S. Army Central Commanding General, congratulated the soldiers for the combined armed live fire exercise.

    “You did an incredible job out here. This is why the Egyptians want the U.S. Army and U.S. Marines showing their training,” Frank said, “because you are the best in the world.”

    As the sun sets on this chapter, the world watches, inspired and hopeful, that the lessons and camaraderie built here will echo in the corridors of defense policies and strategies across continents.



    Date Taken: 09.21.2023
    Date Posted: 09.27.2023 13:08
    Story ID: 454276
    Location: CAIRO, EG

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