EDINBURGH, United Kingdom --
U.S. Marines and British soldiers are undergoing an
exercise designed to increase intelligence operational proficiency between the
two countries Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 2015.
The first iteration of Exercise Phoenix Odyssey took
place at Camp Lejeune, N.C. last year, which helped intelligence Marines and
British soldiers establish a partnership. This year, the countries came together
again to test their capabilities in a joint setting.
“During this exercise, we’re running an intelligence
scenario to reflect a present-day operating environment and what we may face in
an uncertain environment,” said Marine 1st Lt. Benton Pittman, an air
intelligence officer with 2nd Intelligence Battalion.
Two teams work in 12-hour rotating shifts, tasked with
collecting information based on a hypothetical situation in a fictional
country. While the exercise itself is
only notional, the chances of British and U.S. forces working together in a
genuine scenario are possible.
“Having a crisis contingency arise and the requirement
for a quick response to an area where we have not had a deliberate focus on is
very realistic,” said Pittman.
Some service members are participating in their first
joint exercise, while others have worked with other nations before during
similar training. Either way, the forces are learning how each side collects
and distributes intelligence information in order to work together more
effectively in the future.
“I believe this exercise is really bringing us together,”
said Marine Pfc. Kaitlin Williams, an intelligence specialist with the unit.
“It’s helping us understand how we each conduct our intelligence operations, that
way whenever we go forward, we can collaborate better to complete the mission.”
“I’ve worked with the US armed forces before, and I’ve
found [the Marines] are very focused. I think at the moment we’re working well
together,” said British Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Starmer, an all-sources cell
senior analyst in the exercise.
As partnerships between the U.S. Marines and British
continue to grow, the forces are looking ahead to further integration.
“Moving forward as a battalion, we hope to really capture
the positives of working together,” said Pittman. “Taking the best of those
worlds, we’re able to provide timely and relevant intelligence that is