By Staff Sgt. Sean Everette (25th ID)September 25, 2013
The nations of Lanuland and Struland have a fragile peace, and have been separated by a demilitarized zone. Malaysia borders these countries on the north and east, and has combined with the U.S. to form the 6th Multinational Brigade in order to perform peacekeeping operations between the two countries. Just as a plan has been formed to end the conflict and phase out the DMZ, a terrible earthquake strikes Malaysia. The Malaysian military has to pull out of the 6th MNB, and the U.S. commits to helping our Malaysian partners.
Thankfully, there really is no earthquake or conflict, or even countries called Lanuland and Struland. This is just the scenario the U.S. and Malaysian militaries worked through for the Command Post Exercise at Exercise Keris Strike 13.
Keris Strike is a U.S. Army Pacific-sponsored Theater Security Cooperation Program exercise conducted annually with the Malaysian Armed Forces. This year marks the 17th time the two countries have partnered for this exercise. The main purpose of Keris Strike is to strengthen the military-to-military ties between the U.S. and Malaysian Armed Forces while conducting Peace Support Operations and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief, as well as Medical First Responder and Counter-IED training. The Command Post Exercise acts as the capstone for the entire event.
"This is just one step in our evolution making us a better combat force," said Maj. Colin Davis, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Civil Affairs Officer. "Being that the 25th is in the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility, it only makes sense to work with the Malaysians. They're a very strong, capable military and if anything were to happen in the Pacific area, the U.S. and the Malaysians would both react. So, anything we can do to build that relationship, know how each other works, build that partnership, is only going to benefit us in the future. If something unfortunate happens, and we're forced to use our military might, we know that we have our brothers and sisters from Malaysia on our left and that they are a competent force we can work with and succeed with."
During the CPX, both countries had the opportunity to observe how the other country worked through the various issues that arose.
"From one country to another country, we should have this kind of exercise to enhance our knowledge, especially in a military way," said Capt. Nur Izanny binti Iyni, 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Intelligence Officer. "Even though we are not using the same doctrine as you, we can still learn from each other and the doctrine is not too different. So, we get an overview of how you do things and you see how we do things."
The CPX was more than just a chance for the Americans to learn from the Malaysians. It was also a chance to brush up on working with the United Nations, something the U.S. hasn't done as much over the past decade of war.
"Many of the Malaysian officers have experience in Timor and Lebanon and bring a knowledge of UN peacekeeping operations and how the United Nations works," Davis said. "We haven't participated in operations like that in many years. So, as they learn about our staff processes and how we operate, we're absorbing their knowledge about other types of missions in the world. It's a learning experience on both sides."
The sharing of knowledge and strengthening of bonds is what makes the CPX and Exercise Keris Strike a success year after year.