Montana National Guard Hosts Regional Cooperation Exercise

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra Gatti, Virginia National Guard Public AffairsAugust 14, 2023

Personnel from the United States, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan work together Aug. 12, 2023, during Exercise Regional Cooperation 23 at the Helena Aviation Readiness Center in Helena, Montana. RC23 is an annual, multinational U.S. Central Command-sponsored exercise conducted by U.S. forces in partnership with Central and South Asia nations. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti)
Personnel from the United States, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan work together Aug. 12, 2023, during Exercise Regional Cooperation 23 at the Helena Aviation Readiness Center in Helena, Montana. RC23 is an annual, multinational U.S. Central Command-sponsored exercise conducted by U.S. forces in partnership with Central and South Asia nations. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

HELENA, Mont. - The Montana National Guard is hosting Regional Cooperation 23, a U.S. Central Command-sponsored exercise for military personnel from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, ,Uzbekistan, as well as observers from Turkmenistan and the Arizona, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana and Virginia National Guard.

“Regional Cooperation is an unmatched opportunity to strengthen relationships with our partner nations and improve our ability to work together,” said Maj. Stephen Jung, the lead planner for RC23.

During the first several days of the exercise, more than 230 participants gathered at Fort Harrison to establish a base of knowledge on the military decision making process, or MDMP. Then, on Aug. 12, the exercise officially began, with U.S. and partner nation personnel working together to respond to an international security threat scenario.

“The goal is for a multinational team to work together and develop a combined military response to the exercise scenarios,” Jung explained.

Over six days, RC23 participants will face scenarios designed to enhance regional security and stability; increase national capabilities; sharpen techniques and procedures for the interdiction of weapons of mass destruction, terrorist elements and narcotics; and increase interoperability and information sharing.

U.S. and Central and South Asian nations have been involved in the annual RC exercise since 2004.

“This exercise is really about collaboration and building relationships,” Jung said. “When you spend time working alongside military personnel from a partner nation, what you’ll inevitably find is commonalities. My hope is that, when we leave Montana, we all leave with a better understanding of our partnerships, as well as stronger relationships, not only between our military forces at the higher level but also at the individual level.”

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