By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Karsten, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs
SYDNEY, Australia (NNS) -- Senior navy enlisted leaders from Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. 7th Fleet exchanged ideas, concerns and the way forward for the three nations before the start of the Australia-U.S. exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.
The senior enlisted "roundtable" served as an opportunity to discuss Talisman Sabre operations but also other important topics at the deck-plate level to include task group and battlefield circulation, ship rider exchanges, leadership development and future engagements.
"Senior enlisted advisors are right there with the Command Task Force commanders and are relied upon to speak up and say when an idea is not executable, that experience comes from the deck-plate leadership from our senior enlisted advisors," said Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. "There are plenty of good and bad ideas but if we just leave it up to the flag officers, I think that's a bad move. Our senior enlisted members put some rationality to decision making and that's how we will better decide what is executable...and this group has a very good picture of what's executable."
Royal Australian Fleet Command Warrant Officer Stephen Downey was in attendance and said that talks like these are a ticket to opening the gateway to the Australian navy and their future capability.
"It's an ongoing relationship with a lot of history in place already and I cannot see it continuing any other way," said Downey. "It's a continual relationship that's healthy and it's required for what's going on in the world to show to the world that we are united forces."
The group also included New Zealand Warrant Officer of the Navy Steven Bourke, the equivalent of the U.S. Navy's Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON). New Zealand navy members will also be partaking in this year's Talisman Sabre exercise.
"We are all on the same page in relation to what we want to achieve, said Bourke. "The talks allow us to make movements to allow these connections to work effectively allowing enlisted personnel the opportunity through us to deliver their message and use their ideas and strengths to make a bigger contribution to the overall mission."
Talisman Sabre is a biennial combined joint exercise designed to improve Australian and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability, maximize combined training opportunities and demonstrate U.S. resolve to support the security operations of a key ally.