Camp Ulu Tiram, Malaysia -- U.S. and Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) service members took part in a command post exercise (CPX) Sept. 21 during Keris Strike 12 (KrS12), to enhance their ability to operate in a multinational environment.

Keris Strike 12 is a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and hosted annually by the MAF. Keris Strike 12 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security. This exercise marks the sixteenth anniversary of this regionally significant training event.

In a CPX, the participants are put into a fictionalized scenario where they have to plan missions, react to situations that arise, and interact with external entities like the media and the Red Cross. In a multinational environment, transcending language challenges is imperative for the combined staff to accomplish their objectives. Exercises such as this give the participants opportunities to practice overcoming these obstacles and manage the missions they are tasked to control.

"We received our mission from the higher command," said 1st Lt. William Carraway, the media relations officer for the Georgia Department of Defense, based in Marietta, Ga., "Over the last few days the brigade staff began the military decision making process."

Using the MDMP, the participants gather information and develop multiple courses of action to achieve the mission. In the MAF, they call this process the Military Appreciation Process.

"We're learning as a staff to analyze information and create products and solutions," said Maj. Philip Botwinik, the judge advocate general for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 560th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Georgia Army National Guard, based in Atlanta, Ga. "Our learning process is constantly being challenged."

When the mission involves many different elements moving around an area where situations change quickly, the people who control those missions have to be in synch with one another to adapt to the situations and give direction on how to properly react to any given situation. The CPX portion of KrS12 is designed to enhance the skill set of those who staff these joint-logistical operations.

"It is a great experience," said Capt. Narresh, the senior medical officer of the 7th Malaysian Infantry Brigade based in Kwang, Johor, Malaysia. "It's a simulation of real scenarios. It gives us the ability to see how the command functions."

In the scenario, two neighboring nations are in conflict with one another, explained Narresh. In the case of the exercise, the participants of the CPX are tasked with controlling a fictitious multinational force that is working to help the two neighboring nations find a peaceful resolution to their conflict.

"This is a peacekeeping operation," said Lt. Col. Wolfgang Junge, the detachment commander for the 9th Mission Support Company, Theater Support Group of the U.S. Army Reserves and based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. "Two countries are in conflict with one another and have now signed a peace agreement. Our job is to go in and establish a demilitarized zone."

By training with one another, the U.S. and MAF service members learn to not only get past the language challenges, but also learn how each military plans and conducts missions in those environments. The other benefit to this kind of training is that it builds stronger bonds among partnering nations.

"These guys are internationally known for their involvement in peacekeeping missions all over the world," said Junge of the MAF. "It's been great working with them -- growing this relationship is a lot of fun."