Expeditionary Force (MEF), based in Okinawa, or
“transiting MEUs.” Many of these are noted as
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJSC)-directed events.
The list had eight events in the Central Command
area of responsibility (AOR) this year, many also CJCS
directed. The exercises, with names such as Sea Soldier,
Eager Lion and Invincible Sentry, will have Marine units
operating in and with forces from long-time ally Jordan,
and the friendly Persian Gulf nations of Kuwait, Oman,
United Arab Emirates and Qatar, plus Tajikistan, a former Soviet Republic bordering Afghanistan. There also
are two Internal Look exercises, which are primarily
staff planning and training evolutions that are held at
the Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and
in Bahrain, involving Marine Forces Central Command
personnel. The Marines involved in the other events
primarily are from the transiting MEUs or Marine
Reservists on annual active duty. The SPMAGTF-Crisis
Response Central Command will contribute to the
Tajikistan exercise, the list said.
There are 19 exercises in the European Command
AOR listed for 2017, with Marine units engaged in
bilateral training with long-time NATO allies the
United Kingdom, Germany and Norway, plus several of
the newer members — Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania.
There will be an aptly named Arctic Challenge exer-
cise in the Baltics with Norway along with Finland and
Sweden, who are not NATO members but have become
closer to the alliance because of Russia’s belligerence.
There are two exercises this year listed as occurring
in the “Levant,” which normally means countries at
the eastern end of the Mediterranean, including Cyprus,
Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel, and one each in
Ukraine and Georgia, former Soviet republics threatened
by Russia. The list includes Austere Challenge 17, which
will take place in the United States and Europe, con-
ducted by the Camp Lejeune-based II MEF.
Sources of the Marines involved in the other exer-
cises are broadly listed as Marine Forces Reserve, II
MEF and Marine Forces Europe.
There are five exercises scheduled under Africa
Command’s authority, including African Lion 17,
the latest in a long-standing joint training event in
Morocco on Africa’s northwestern coast, and one
each in Cameroon and in Cote D’Ivorie in western
Africa. There are two exercises listed as taking place
in Germany, where Africa Command is headquartered,
and/or in its AOR.
African Lion is an annual train-
ing event for Marine Reserve units.
Marines participating in the other
exercises are listed as coming
from Marine Forces Europe, whose
commander is dual-hatted as com-
mander Marine Forces Africa, or
U.S. military engagements in
the Southern Command AOR tend
to shy away from kinetic activities,
although there have been multina-
tional naval exercises and both the
Marines and Navy have conducted
riverine training in Latin America.
The 2017 exercises in Southern
Command are heavily oriented to
events that allow Marine engineers
to practice their skills while helping
the host countries improve facili-
ties, and logisticians, food service
specialist and civil affair personnel
to train their counterparts.
Many of the units involved this
year are from the Marine Reserves.
Engagements this year are in Hon-
duras, Belize, Guatemala and the
islands of Trinidad and Tobago. n
Service members from Thailand, the Republic of Korea and the United States participate
in an amphibious capabilities demonstration at Hat Yao, Rayong Province, Thailand, during
exercise Cobra Gold Feb. 17. Cobra Gold is a multinational training exercise developed to
strengthen security and interoperability among the Kingdom of Thailand, the United States
and other participating nations.