On Sept. 20, a closing ceremony at the Joint Military Training Command on U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, Germany, ended the 18th year of the world’s largest military communications exercise, Combined Endeavor 2012.
The exercise ran from Sept. 6 to 20 and included participants from 39 countries and two multinational organizations.
Combined Endeavor is a U.S. European Command-sponsored multinational exercise intended to enhance communication network interoperability and information exchange among nations with common stability, security and sustainment goals and objectives.
The Combined Endeavor exercise first began in 1995 as a workshop involving only 10 nations and has grown to 41 nations and international organizations, bringing more than 1,500 communication and cyber defense experts together.
More than a thousand interoperability tests were conducted this year.
“You’ve proved to our distinguished visitors, and, most importantly, you’ve proved to yourselves how this exercise is more interoperable and more operationally relevant,” said Army Col. Lemuel Thomas, Chief of International Engagement and Interoperability for the U.S. European Command, who was the closing ceremony’s guest speaker.
The exercise also included Cyber Endeavor Capstone, Cyber Endeavor Regional Seminar, Phoenix Endeavor and a tactical radio workshop.
“This morning I was given the honor of presenting over 100 certificates to participants of Cyber Endeavor and Phoenix Endeavor for their work in improving the cyber defense posture and the frequency management capabilities of all of Europe’s military,” Thomas said.
Thomas also reminded participants of the importance of this exercise and why each country should continue to support Combined Endeavor.
“At the last Combined Endeavor (a Marine) told me something that stuck with me, and I think it is a good justification as to why we need a Combined Endeavor,” Thomas said. “He said, ‘I don’t want my Marines fighting technology; I want them fighting the fight.’ We can fix the technological interoperability here at Combined Endeavor, not down range. That is why we’re here and that is why we’re coming back next year.”