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US to Lead Multinational Cope North 23 Exercise in Guam

Air force personnel from Australia, the United States, and Japan have been arriving in Guam to begin exercise Cope North 23.

The joint forces have been establishing a multinational command and control task force for the US-hosted exercise, which will run from February 8 to 24.

Cope North 23 is a “field training exercise focused on trilateral airborne integration for large-force employment, agile combat employment, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training,” the US Pacific Air Force said.

It will include around 1,000 US sailors, airmen, and marines with a combined force of 1,000 from the combined Royal Australian Air Force, French Air and Space Force, and Japan Air Self-Defense Forces.

The command plans to fly approximately 1,200 sorties over seven islands and 10 airfields with 100 aircraft.

Exercise Cope North

Exercise Cope North began as a quarterly bilateral exercise in 1978 at Misawa Air Base, Japan. It was moved in 1999 to Andersen AFB, growing to become the largest multilateral exercise held by US Pacific Air Forces.

Operations for Cope North 2023 will be conducted at Andersen Air Force Base, Won Pat International Airport, and Northwest Field, Guam; Iwo To, Japan; Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia; Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands including Rota, Tinian, and Saipan; and the Republic of Palau.

The more than two-week exercise will focus on trilateral planning and execution, extensive force coordination, and improving capabilities across dispersed locations, airlift, logistics, and search and rescue drills.  

Cope North 23 aims “to further integrate the contributions of allies and partners to enhance security and stability to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” according to the US Air Force.

The drill will wrap up with a disaster relief drill to enhance the three nations’ preparedness for any catastrophic event in the Indo-Pacific region.

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