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U.S. Naval Special Warfare (NSW) forces deployed in support of U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific participated in Exercise Talisman Sabre from July 17 to August 3, 2023. NSW forces worked alongside Australian special operations forces (SOF) from the Army’s 2nd Commando Regiment.
Talisman Sabre is a biennial exercise designed to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships and interoperability among key allies. The spelling of the name — sabre vs. saber — reflects which country is leading the exercise: Talisman Sabre when Australia leads and Talisman Saber when the U.S. leads.
NSW and Australian SOF members spent several weeks training together in the lead up to Talisman Sabre, practicing scenarios designed to increase partnership, interoperability, and crisis response capabilities.
“Our training with the Australian SOF members before the exercise prepared us for success by providing iteration training, which allowed us to work through issues and streamline our procedures,” said the NSW unit’s officer in charge. “The bilateral training we conducted during Talisman Sabre focused on integrating and exchanging maritime insertion methods and small unit tactics.”
As part of the exercise, operators from both countries practiced unique training scenarios in a multinational environment, enhancing their abilities to respond together as part of a joint or combined force.
The NSW unit began Talisman Sabre conducting combined small arms fire, fast rope drills, and close-quarter combat familiarization with their Australian counterparts in Sydney. Training later shifted to Queensland, where the combined forces executed both day and nighttime joint maritime insertion scenarios.
“During this collaboration with Australian SOF members, it reminded us of the critical importance of including face-to-face planning when operating with our allies,” said a U.S. Naval Special Warfare operator. “Without a doubt, our work together has deepened relations, and we are thankful for the warm welcome and hospitality from the host nation, Australia."
The United States and Australia have a long history of global partnership and security cooperation dating back over 100 years, from World War I and II, and every significant conflict since.
U.S. Naval Special Warfare is the nation’s elite maritime special operations force, uniquely positioned to extend the fleet’s reach. Integral to this capability is a forward-deployed posture and continuous engagement with partner and ally forces, heightening mutual interoperability and regional expertise.
Talisman Sabre 23 had more than more than 30,000 military participants from Australia, United States, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and United Kingdom.