GRAFENWHÖR, Germany – Combined Endeavor 2012, the world’s largest military communications exercise, kicked off Sept. 6 at the Joint Military Training Command on U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr, Germany.
The opening ceremony included the flags, military formations and representatives of 39 countries and two international organizations who will participate in the exercise Sept. 6 to 20.
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.
This year’s theme is “Coalition Information Dominance.” Each nation will measure whether their information flow is enhanced or limited by the information systems they provide.
Combined Endeavor 2012 serves as an umbrella exercise which also includes Cyber Endeavor Capstone, Cyber Endeavor Regional Seminar, Phoenix Endeavor and a Tactical Radio Workshop.
“This exercise allows partnering nations to evaluate and integrate innovative technical solutions on communications equipment, said Army Col. Lemuel Thomas, Chief of International Engagement and Interoperability for the U.S. European Command, who was the opening ceremony’s guest speaker. “It also provides an opportunity for sharing best practices, encourages people to learn new operations, and promotes understanding and trust. That trust is so vital in our human interoperability aspect of this exercise.”
“Working together as partners in various cultures, numerous languages, varied equipment standards, and building important professional and personal relationships is what makes this exercise so powerful,” he said.
The Combined Endeavor exercise first began in 1995 as a workshop involving only 10 nations and has grown in 18 years to 41 nations and international organizations, bringing more than 1,500 communication and cyber defense experts together.
Third Mayor Thomas Schopf of Grafenwöhr also greeted the nations of Combined Endeavor 2012 during the opening ceremony in his native language.
“The success of NATO is in the support and collaboration of partners,” he said in German. “I know the importance of this Combined Endeavor exercise to our NATO partners. I also know that the best soldier and the best weapons systems are useless without first class data connection. What would happen if information would arrive too late, secret information got into the hands of the wrong people, or soldiers were forced to make decisions without sufficient information? The reputation of each army would be ruined. I am firmly convinced that you should feel like the most important part of your armed forces.”
The mayor wished everyone success, an injury-free visit and lots of new friendships between the nations.
“Enjoy your stay here at the most beautiful and modern training camp in Europe, and I heartily invite you to visit our beautiful city,” he said.
Nations participating in Combined Endeavor 2012, as either NATO, Partnership for Peace (PfP) or observers are: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. Organizations are Multinational Corps East and NATO.
For more information on the exercise, contact the U.S. European Command Public Affairs office at (+49) 0711-680-6618 or e-mail the Media Operations team at firstname.lastname@example.org.