Talisman Saber 2017, Australia’s largest combined military exercise, concluded in Brisbane yesterday after meeting a number of key milestones and achievements.

Mr Luke Howarth MP, Federal Member for Petrie representing Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, was joined by the United States Consul General, Ms 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 Saber to date.

“Cooperation between the ADF, other government agencies and the forces of the United States and other international participants has been exceptional,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

“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.”

Two years in the planning, Talisman Saber 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.”

“This exercise included emerging features of modern warfare such as space and cyber challenges.”

The exercise also included a combined amphibious assault involving Australian, United States and New Zealand forces.

Representatives from24 other nations were given the opportunity to observe portions of the exercise.

This iteration of Talisman Saber saw an expansion of the involvement of non-Defence agencies, exemplifying the importance of inter-departmental cooperation 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.

Commander US Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift said Australian and US military cooperation had been enhanced as a result of the exercise.

“The Talisman Saber exercise series shows in tangible, physical terms that our alliance continues to strengthen and deepen,” Admiral 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 Saber and its associated infrastructure stretched from the East Coast of the United States to Alaska, Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Darwin, Brisbane and Canberra, with land and maritime training areas in between.