BRISBANE, Australia (July 22, 2013) -- With the United States Army's pivotal role in the military's growing responsibilities in the Pacific, Secretary of the Army John McHugh took part this week in a key exercise with one of the country's most enduring regional partners."We've served alongside Australia in every major conflict since World War II," said McHugh. "And our strong partnership with the Australian Defence Force is as important now as it ever was." The military exercise, Talisman Saber, began July 20th and is a combined Australian and U.S. training activity. It is designed to train respective military forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between respective forces.McHugh observed Soldiers from I Corps at the Battle Simulation Center - the exercise operations facility where members from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force work with members of the Australian Defence Force."We must continue to grow and mature our shared partnerships," McHugh said. "It is through the relationships with our allies and partners that we are able to prevent, mitigate, and respond to crises and assure security.""This is a U.S.-led, Australian-supported training exercises conducted primarily in Australia to improve combat training, readiness and interoperability across a wide spectrum of military activities," explained Lt. Gen. Brown, I Corps commanding general and commander of the Coalition Forces Land Component."One part of this training is demonstrating our ability to deploy I Corps," he added. "By deploying to Australia, we're also able to gain important first-hand knowledge of how Australian armed forces operate." Brown also noted that Talisman Saber is as much about developing and maintaining the alliance and partnership as it is to becoming a combat ready combined joint task force. "This exercise is a major undertaking that reflects the closeness of our alliance with Australia and the strength of the ongoing military-to-military relationship," Brown said. "Exercises with our allies are increasing in scope and sophistication," McHugh said. "This improves capabilities and cooperation between our militaries and nations."