GRAFENWOEHR TRAINING AREA, Germany (Sept. 23, 2013) -- Representative formations of 38 nations, including the U.S., gathered on a Camp Aachen's parade field at the Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Sept. 12, marking the start of the U.S. European Command's Exercise Combined Endeavor 2013.

The exercise, scheduled to run through Sept. 26, has over 1,500 military and civilian personnel from NATO and participating Partnership for Peace nations, making it the world's largest communications event and addresses command and control, communications and computer interoperability, and integration, known as C4.

"[Combined Endeavor] provides an opportunity to share best practices," said Col. Lemuel Thomas, Coalition Partner Interoperability division chief of U.S. European Command, or EUCOM. "[Combined Endeavor] encourages peace through security cooperation, while promoting understanding and trust."

"The exercise serves as the model for future exercises," he said.

Officials say Combined Endeavor leverages resources and capabilities, including the Joint Multinational Training Command's centralized location, ranges, training facilities, classrooms, maneuver, and simulations capabilities that easily facilitate the high-volume of personnel and equipment. Due to the centralized location, nations set-up fees and transportation costs are greatly reduced.

"Part of what's unique here is that you'll almost never see another nation's headquarters in someone else's infrastructure," said Canadian Army Maj. Jason Zwicker, delegation chief with the Land Component Command. He said that in these times of global fiscal constraints, all Combined Endeavor participating nations seek ways to leverage existing resources and collectively evolve with emerging technology.

For example, French, German, and Italian military forces integrated a Joint Multinational Training Command, or JMTC, artillery live-fire range into their traditional communications validation exercise as part of the Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities, or ASCA, program.

The ASCA program links the artillery systems of partnering nations and enables them to interface each other's artillery systems, increasing the capability to leverage fire support internationally.

Mark Rabenstein, JMTC plans and exercises chief, said that JMTC's ability to train multiple entities with different training needs and objectives simultaneously makes the command especially valuable.

Currently, the JMTC is hosting nine distinctly unique training exercises and events, including Combined Endeavor.

"You have to know [about] all training exercises we have going on now and the ones we are setting up to really get the big picture," said Rabenstein. "And we can do more."

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