Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 completed Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), Oct. 26.
CSG 8’s flag ship, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), departed Norfolk, Va. Sep. 30 to participate in COMPTUEX in order to certify as a combat-ready naval force capable of conducting a full-spectrum of integrated maritime, joint, and combined operations.
Leading up to COMPTUEX, CSG 8 trained together in events such as Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training and Group Sail. These training assessments allowed the ships, aircraft, and staffs to work together in response to specific scenarios across all warfare areas and to refine their ability to communicate and fight alongside one another. With COMPTUEX, it created a realistic training environment that included academic, synthetic and live training events.
During COMPTUEX, CSG 8 also participated in the second iteration of the NATO vignette, developed by Carrier Strike Group Four (CSG 4) and Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Centre of Excellence (CJOS COE). NATO vignette is the term that has been used for the period of time a CSG has spent training to operate under NATO Command and Control (C2). The Transfer of Authority (TOA) of C2 between a U.S. Navy numbered fleet and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) was rehearsed, as well as using NATO reporting procedures, messaging formats and chat capabilities.
“To ensure truly effective deterrence and defense in the North Atlantic, we need to make sure that the navies of NATO can work as one team, and that means interoperability is vital,” said Commodore Tom Guy, Royal Navy, deputy director CJOS COE. “This NATO vignette has been a great step forward in pursuing better Allied interoperability and integration. CJOS COE looks forward to continuing to develop this for future deploying Strike Groups.”
The NATO vignette consisted of familiarity training designed to facilitate Allied maritime interoperability and integration. The vignette provides a clear list of interoperability requirements for future Navy force generation, and improved Allied maritime C2 linkages that one day could prove vital during the critical vulnerability of initial crisis response.
Joint Interface Control Officers (JICO) from Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet provided detailed analysis, coordination and support to ensure all participants received updated cryptographic material to maximize the communications and data transfer needed for complicated strike group operations.
This COMPTUEX was one of the largest and most complex that CSG 8 has ever participated in. In addition to the Harry S. Truman, participants included staffs of CSG 8 and Destroyer Squadron 28, the embarked aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 1; the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56); the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), USS Cole (DDG 67), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gravely (DDG 107), and USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); and the Littoral Combat Ships USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Wichita (LCS 13).
Along with the U.S. ships; the Royal Norwegian Navy Frigate, HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310), joined the strike group under the Cooperative Deployment Program, which emphasizes the strengthening of defense partnerships and capabilities between the United States and bilateral or multilateral partners.
“This exercise provided a unique opportunity for the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group to enhance multilateral warfighting capabilities and to fortify mil-to-mil relations with our allied partner, the Royal Norwegian Navy. Training events such as these send a clear message that we can provide flexible capabilities to promote security, stability, freedom of navigation, and the free flow commerce anywhere on the globe,” said Rear Adm. Curt Renshaw, commander, Carrier Strike Group 8. “The team we have formed between the U.S. and Norway has effectively shown our ability to respond to dynamic events-no matter what we encounter in future operations.”
A key aspect in that ability to deliver the combat-ready naval forces are the Sailors throughout the strike group and their ability to effectively execute the mission during high-stress situations.
“Taking part in this extensive maritime exercise has provided the Norwegian Navy with lots of realistic, relevant and highly valuable training. Through the hospitality, dedication and professionalism of our American brothers and sisters at sea, we have been able to seamlessly integrate as a credible asset of the Carrier Strike Group, marking yet another important milestone in our navy’s history,” said Cmdr. Ruben Grepne-Takle, commander, HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen. “My crew is well trained, highly motivated and ready to commence this important ‘Cooperative Deployment’ together with our most important ally.”
CSG 8 is operating in the Atlantic Ocean in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security in order to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interests.
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