U.S. ARMY GARRISON GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Learning through partnership is key to most joint training exercises and Combined Endeavor 2013 is no different.
The world's largest command, control, communications and computers (C4) exercise, Combined Endeavor, brings communications experts from 40 coalition partnership nations to one location for the primary purpose of building coalition information sharing operations.
For 18 years, Combined Endeavor has enhanced joint multinational partnership solutions in the C4 realm by promoting information dominance. One delegation member said he was looking forward to gaining more insight through CE13 and building partnerships in the process.
Azerbaijan Army 1st Lt. Kamil Mammadov, an automatic management system engineer said this type of training is essential to him and his fellow delegation members and they are learning something new every day.
"I have an IT (information technology) background so some of the programs they are using here are familiar and some are new to me," Mammadov said. "I'm trying to learn as much as I can about [Domain Name System] DNS servers and network administration. What I learn here, I plan to take back to my country and teach other soldiers so they can be more effective in their jobs."
This year Mammadov is part of an exercise scenario that involves providing humanitarian and security assistance to a fictitious war-torn country. Exercise Combined Endeavor was stood up to provide command and control for land, air and maritime assets in that country's region.
Canadian Army Maj. Jason Zwicker, a delegation chief and member of the land component command (LCC) said his element provides command and control of all land forces and is the liaison between the coalition joint task force and mission groups.
"Part of what's unique here is that you'll almost never see another nation's headquarters in someone else's infrastructure," Zwicker said. "The idea that we're depending on someone else's power, someone else's facilities and using someone else's equipment is somewhat unusual. We're all under constrained budgets and we're all under a significant amount of pressure to live with the right network and not just a network so we're all shifting how we think about information technology. "
Due to budget constraints, the United States, Canada, and other coalition partnership nations are hoping to operate under one umbrella using one standard called the JMEI or Joining, Membership, and Exiting Instructions. The JMEI is a document that governs the standards and execution of exercise Combined Endeavor in relation to using one network system. CE's focus, however, is not only network operations but improving our collective cyber defense posture and integrating the Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities (ASCA) program.
According to U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Robert Kaufmann, a primary ASCA interface operator, the ASCA program links artillery systems from partnering countries on the battlefield. Meaning if a NATO country like France or Germany, Italy or Turkey is in need of artillery support from the United States, they can interface with each other through their systems and call for fire with each other's systems.
"ASCA is a program that's built into each fire-control system," Kaufmann said. "It's a translator that takes information from the nation requesting fire support and translates that information into the language of the nation that will provide that support."
Kaufmann said ASCA was brought under the Combined Endeavor umbrella to transition the exercise from a communications to a tactical-level exercise. According to him the ASCA program has already proven that the interoperability between countries is working.
"I think this program is very critical to the future of Combined Endeavor," Kaufmann said.
The overall goal of Combined Endeavor is to leverage joint multinational training command capabilities in a post-ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) operational environment. The expectation is to keep the 'team' together and enable future operations and information sharing.
Combined Endeavor is an annual U.S. European Command-sponsored event that runs from Sept. 13-26, 2013.