Cooperatives Spirit '08 Ends

Thursday October 9, 2008

What is it and what have we learned?

On Oct. 10 Cooperative Spirit ends a month of testing interoperability between American, British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand forces at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC), Germany. Inside JMRC is "the box" with towns that now bear names such as Jalabad, Nuristan, and Asadabad, complete with walled homes, flat roofs, mosques, a mayor, a mulla and a friendly group of citizens that occasionally turn into an angry mob. Coalition troops train not only in security and stability operations but in fire and maneuver, with the support and integration of troops from the ABCA program. The whole idea is 'interoperability.' Each army has their own words, processes and methods. It's one thing to 'clear a house,' but it's another story to do it with Australian soldiers mixed in with your unit.

Misunderstandings can happen between armies as easily as it can happen between individuals. In the box military vehicles loaned and manned by all armies race up and down the roads practicing entering towns, maneuvering and reacting to Individual Explosive Devices (IEDS). Strykers and land rovers are employed to add realism and support. JMRC contains many training lanes, one of them called the 'shoot house' where troops use live ammo to clear out houses. Cooperative Spirit '08 ended with a six-day field exercise.

Why is this important to the Army?

"Because war is too important to do alone," said Brig. Gen. David Hogg, the commander of Joint Multinational Training Command. "The world is a smaller place, and we must understand the capabilities and processes of our coalition partners, as well as our enemy. This is not new. These Armies have been working on interoperability since World War II. Cooperative Spirit and the ABCA program is a reminder of the importance of such knowledge."

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The ABCA program will continue to conduct a deliberate analysis of interoperability gaps discovered here in Germany and produce products to close and mitigate those gaps.


ABCA Web site

Cooperative Spirit Blog


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