GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Service members of the Spanish armed forces are expanding their communications skills and strengthening relationships with more than 35 other nations from around the world during Combined Endeavor 2011, which began, Sept. 8, in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
Combined Endeavor is a multi-nation exercise involving nearly 40 NATO, Partnership for Peace and strategic security partners, and is designed to increase interoperability and communication processes between the participating nations.
This is the ninth year that Spain has participated in the multinational exercise, but many things have changed in the exercise since 2001.
“You can really see the more realistic scenarios that are more focused on operations,” Said Capt. Gustavo Aguilar, Spanish armed forces communications officer. “This year, I have noticed the different way that the countries are working together for the operational goal we are working for, versus just testing our different technology.”
2011 marks a change in how the exercise was conducted over the past years. Initially, Combined Endeavor focused primarily on the ways different technologies work together, but this year, the command element of the exercise has refocused on the way the countries themselves work together in ways that can carry over to current operations.
“Last year I was unable to attend CE because of a deployment to Afghanistan,” said Aguilar. “Based off my deployed experience, I think Combined Endeavor has really moved into the right direction to train everyone the way we operate when working together in joint environments.
According to Aguilar, this level of human interoperability that all the participants develop while working side-by-side is equally important to success in future operations.
“Working side-by-side with all these countries can at first be very overwhelming, but it is important to understand and learn from each other to be successful in future operations where we will be working together,” said Aguilar. “It’s important we build these strong alliances with other nations, and Combined Endeavor makes that possible.”