Amphibiosity and Combined and Joint Battle Problem: August 2021


The United States, Australia and Japan are working a modular task force built around what amphibious ships can bring to the fight.

Amphibious ships can contribute significantly to sea control and sea denial.

Two recent articles, one American and one Australian highlight the current effort.

In an August 5, 2021 article by Lt. Cmdr. Sherrie A. Flippin, the engagement of the USS American Expeditionary Strike Group was highlighted.

CORAL SEA (Aug. 5, 2021) – USS America Expeditionary Strike Group (AMA ESG), along with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), begin operations alongside Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Canberra (L 02) and HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155); and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force JS Makinami (DD 115) in support of the Combined and Joint Battle Problem (CJBP), 5-8 August.

“It should come as no surprise that our blue-green team will continue to operate with like-minded nations in order to promote stability and the international rules-based order,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “Operations such as these ensure our forces can come together, if called upon, to defend shared interest in the region and respond to conventional or non-conventional threats.”

CJBP is one of many operations nested under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Large Scale Global Exercise (LSGE) 21. LSGE 21 is global command and control exercise, with a regional focus, to enhance integration of the U.S., allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.  

The U.S. in conjunction with like-minded partners and allies will operate across several bases in the region and project sustained combat power. During CJBP, surface units will conduct complex maneuvering, refueling at sea, and integrate aviation assets through helicopter cross- deck opportunities. 

Royal Australian Navy, Commodore Flotillas, Commodore Mick Harris highlighted the opportunities that LSGE 21 presents for Australia.  

“Australia always looks forward to working and training with our like-minded partners and friends to address shared security challenges in our region,” Commodore Harris said. “This exercise with the USS America Expeditionary Strike Group and JS Makinami represents an opportunity to enhance our ability to seamlessly integrate anywhere in the world.”

Each training evolution was planned and coordinated among units and will be executed as multi-domain operations in order to provide commanders with numerous options for executing processes and maneuvers. Events are based on a continuum of scenarios and designed to test operational concepts. 

Together, the forward-deployed ships of ESG 7 and elements of the 31st MEU are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force in support of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

And in an August 6, 2021 story published by the Australian Department of Defence, the Australian engagement in the exercise was highlighted.

HMA Ships Canberra and Ballarat have arrived in the Western Pacific Ocean for the opening phase of the US-led Large Scale Global Exercise 21. 

Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said Australia’s participation in the first phase of the activity followed the success of Exercises Talisman Sabre and Pacific Vanguard. 

“We have just completed some extraordinary training in and around Australia and now we have this exciting new opportunity to consolidate those gains,” Lieutenant General Bilton said. 

“We’ve got amphibious forces, including United States marines, embarked in Canberra, and a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft involved at various stages as well.

“Activities like this build strong operational relationships, which are the foundation for responding to shared security challenges.” 

Commanding Officer Canberra Captain Jace Hutchison said the exercise would prove invaluable for the crews of Canberra and Ballarat.

“Any opportunity for us to test our skills and processes with partner nations enhances our readiness and ability to respond as required,” Captain Hutchison said.