FORT CARSON, Colo. — Military leaders from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, and Canadian armies participated in a media roundtable on June 24 to discuss Joint Warfighting Assessment (JWA) 21, which began June 14 in Hawaii, Colorado and Washington.
JWAs help the Army evaluate emerging concepts, integrate new technologies, and promote interoperability between the Army, other services and multinational partners.
Col. Tobin Magsig, Commander, Joint Modernization Command, started the event by providing a broad picture of the event that included JMC’s role as exercise control and highlighted that JWA is a campaign of learning.
The key focus areas were multi-domain operations (MDO), multinational interoperability, modernization, common operating picture, emerging technologies, leveraging capabilities, and how lessons learned today would continue to help the armies fight together in the future.
“These are real learning opportunities that provide us with rich data and feedback to make necessary improvements. As the U.S. Army, we came into Joint Warfighting Assessment 21 wanting to learn more about MDO as we transition this concept into U.S. Army doctrine,” Magsig said.
JWA 21 is an integrated part of a series of linked experiments, including Defender 21, Forager, MDO Live, and Project Convergence 21.
Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane, Commanding General, 4th Infantry Division, and Commander, 4th Multinational Division during JWA 21, highlighted the importance of multinational exercises.
“The U.S. Army will always fight as [a] combined force alongside allies and partners, so it's important we continue learning and improving our human, technical and procedural interoperability as a single entity,” McFarlane said.
Allies and partners enable strategic readiness and depth to the U.S. Army's ability to mobilize, deploy, and sustain forces in large-scale combat operations. They enhance the Army's deterrence, offer complementary capabilities, share information, and fight alongside.
“The exercise was a means of continuing to develop the people-to-people links with our strategic partners that are so important,” said Brigadier Jason Blain, Commander, Australian 7th Combat Brigade.
Additionally, Blain stated, “Our brigade in the Australian Army is committed to a continual learning experience to best prepare our forces in defending Australia’s national interests. The Australian Army is undertaking profound modernization efforts to become more connected, protected, lethal and enabled within the joint force across multi-domain operations.”
The commonalities of the participants allowed for a greater ability to train to different scenarios.
Canada, America’s neighbor to the north, has participated in JWAs since their inception.
"All of our countries share a common geography, history, economy, and culture. The defense and security relations between our countries are long-standing, well-entrenched, and highly successful, making exercises such as JWA essential to remain compatible with the U.S. military, the Australian Defence Force, and the British Army,” said Col. Marie-Christine Harvey, Commander, 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.
Brigadier Sam Humphris, Commander, 1st U.K. Brigade, spoke to the interoperability of forces in operational and exercise environments.
“As a commanding officer on operations in Afghanistan in 2017 and 2018, I had the absolute honor of commanding the U.S. and Australian companies in my battlegroup and as a company commander in Helmand Province," Humphris said. "I always deeply admire the accuracy and the commitment of the Canadian soldiers serving in Kandahar. So to have the opportunity to serve with each nation’s soldiers again, on an exercise of this sophistication and scale, has been a wonderful one, and one for which I am very grateful.”
The media roundtable allowed senior leaders to highlight the advances in interoperability and focus on the importance of soldiers in accomplishing missions in all domains.