FORT BLISS, Texas- More than 5,000 Soldiers from I Corps, 1st Armored Division and multinational units, which include British, Canadian, and Australian brigade headquarters participated in the inaugural Army Warfighting Assessment Oct. 17-28, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Throughout the AWA 17.1 training exercise, U.S and multinational forces operated in a rigorous and realistic training environment against an enemy that employed unique capabilities such as cyber, chemical and electronic warfare, and unmanned aerial systems.
"Working together is incredibly important, if you look all over the world at the moment none of us are doing anything by ourselves," said Australian Maj. Gen. Paul McLachlan, 1st Division commander. "We have to leverage off each other's understanding of our operating environment, and we have to help each other out with scarcer capabilities."
The AWA 17.1 is a multi-echelon training exercise in live, virtual and constructive domains. This enables coalition networks to assess joint and multinational policies, procedures and technical interoperability, and information sharing.
"Having the ability to continue this road of partnership, this road of working together, training together and continuing to fight together when the call comes is an amazing opportunity for the team that I'm in charge of," said 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Commander, Col. Michel-Henri St.-Louis. "I think that we are blessed to be here with our United Kingdom, Australian, American, Danish, and Italian partners and trying to work these issues together is what interoperability really is, in order to face the adversity of the future together."
The AWA 17.1 exercise allows joint and multinational partners the opportunity to assess capability gaps and shortfalls through resourcing and training.
"We all brought our own mission command systems, they have the ability to share tracks, (friendly) and (enemy) with all the partners," said Australian Col. Shaun Love, director of the Land Networking Integration. "Now we have to build on that, how do we make that richer, how do we provide our commanders with the ability to do battle space management and commander control? Not just a common operating picture."
The 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Commander, Col. Will Beaurpere, discussed the importance of training with coalition forces to prepare for future conflicts.
"We have integrated coalition partners into the exercise, so my headquarters has a U.S task group, an Australian task group and an Italian task group," said Beaurpere. "Therefore, we have Australian and Italian officers embedded in our headquarters to replicate exactly how we would fight as a joint combined force in conflict or crisis."
The AWA 17.1 is the Chief of Staff of the Army's Force 2025 Maneuvers capstone exercise focusing on refinement/improvement of concepts and capabilities without the constraints presented in a formal testing environment.