Wars, natural disasters and training missions constantly bring people from different countries together. More than ever, understanding the culture and language of other servicemembers is important. Unless people have the ability to communicate with one another, multi-national missions will be set up for failure.
“A lot of this exercise is about understanding culture and communication,” U.S. Army Lt. Col. Vernon Miles, lead observer trainer for Special Operations Command Joint Forces Command said.
The exercise Miles referred to is Jackal Stone 10, hosted by Poland and Lithuania this year, which is an annual international special operations forces (SOF) exercise held in Europe. Its objective is to enhance capabilities and interoperability amongst the participating special operations forces and as well as build mutual respect while sharing doctrinal concepts.
The exercise, which is coordinated with U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, includes Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine participating in the exercise.
In preparation for JS10, multi-national servicemembers scheduled time to learn about each other.
“There were three days of academics,” Miles said. “We held seminars, and relied on interaction between participants about how they do stuff.”
The nations participating in the exercise often use the same groundwork for accomplishing missions, but each country brings something unique to the table.
“The basics are often the same, but this exercise gives us the chance to get to know different jargon and procedures,” Polish Intelligent Officer Maj. Izabela Ledwon said.
In many military settings, multiple nations are involved. Joint exercises such as JS 10 offer a great chance to build relationships.
“Countries are integrated usually, so joint training exercises are important. It makes life and work easier when you know about the people you are working with,” Ledwon said.
Not only do the countries participating in JS 10 want to maintain the techniques and strategies currently used, but also create new possibilities and ideas leading to success.
“We want to increase and enhance capabilities and relationships for U.S. and partner nations,” Miles said.
Some servicemembers participating in JS 10 have participated in many multinational training missions, but old or new, there are always opportunities to gain, and give, knowledge.
“I have been over here numerous times, but there is always something new to learn,” Miles said. “We hope to spread the best practices to other forces around the world.”
The exercise may only be a week long, but the ideas and knowledge learned will live on for many days to follow.
“We’ll be better prepared,” Ledwon said. “We are going to make similar exercises back at my unit.”
Jackal Stone 10 brings servicemembers from seven different countries with vastly different lifestyles, cultures and languages. However, the common bond amongst all participants is the desire to improve themselves not only individually, but as military operations working together to keep our world safe.