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Feature Stories

NEWS | Aug. 23, 2018

Interoperability with Partner Nations in Action

By Cpl. Nicholas Moyte 123rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Steppe Eagle, a multi-national exercise, executed by U.S. Army Central with support from the Arizona Army National Guard and the South Carolina Army National Guard, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Tajikistan took place at McCrady Training Center, South Carolina, Aug. 10-20. The exercise is designed to strengthen interoperability among the armed forces of each nation to ensure security and stability in U.S. Central Command’s Area of Responsibility.


Exercise Steppe Eagle helps prepare the soldiers of Kazakhstan to carry out United Nations peace-keeping operations, said Maj. Steve Keir, 160th Infantry Brigade, Operations and Training Officer, British Army. The United States and United Kingdom are the primary instructors of the Kazakhs during this exercise.


Bringing multiple nations together brings a distinct set of challenges that must be overcome in order to ensure the successful completion of the exercise.


Some of the issues stemmed from language barriers, said Keir. The different dialects, even within common languages, like English and Russian, can create confusion when trying to relay orders and ensure they are followed as intended.


Working through these challenges is an aspect of the exercise that will contribute to a greater understanding between the soldiers of the participating nations, which leads to improved training and peace-keeping operations.


We need to be able to work well with our partners on the global stage, said Capt. Alexander Fhlug, 157th Military Engagement Team. Each army must be able to function together and communicate effectively to carry out the mission.


The sharing and exchange of tactics and methods throughout the many training scenarios, ranging from medical training, riot control, urban operations, and medevac training is a primary focus throughout the exercise that will lead to improved interoperability between participating nations.


“Working with international armed forces is a good opportunity to share experiences,” said Capt. Zhienbaez Maksat, Kazakh Army, Chief of Civilian-Military Cooperation. “They took away expanded knowledge, different tactics, techniques, and new methods. They learned how to work alongside the military of other countries.”


While working together at a tactical level is crucial for future cooperation between participating nations, a deeper cultural understanding is also a goal of Exercise Steppe Eagle 2018.


Out of this exercise, soldiers will develop relationships that will last beyond its completion, said Fhlug. Cultural understanding is a key part of working together and the only way to achieve that is by working side-by-side with military partners.


Exercises like Steppe Eagle 2018 not only help build and reinforce tactical and cultural understanding amongst the partner militaries but its continued partnership between partner nations.