2,000 military personnel in NMI for exercise


About 2,000 military personnel have arrived in the Marianas from the United States, Australia, and Japan to participate in the nearly two-week-long Cope North 23 military exercise, which is set to begin today.

The public can expect to see military training operations at all CNMI airports and the Jose P. San Nicolas Commercial Port of Tinian throughout the months of February and early March.

A handful of military personnel held a public hearing yesterday at the Commonwealth Ports Authority’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting conference room to hear any public concerns about the annual military exercise.

According to Col. Jared Pasley of the U.S. Air Force, about 2,000 military personnel from the United States, Australia, and Japan have made the journey to the Marianas to participate in the trilateral military exercise.

“This is an average number, although we hope we could have more,” he said.

Of the 2,000, over 1,000 men and women arrived from the United States, about 105 came out from Australia, and over 400 came from Japan.

Although there hasn’t been any heavy pushback on the exercises, a lot of the questions raised include what the community could expect, how operations at the Saipan, Tinian, and Rota airports would be affected as a result of the exercises, and more. All concerns were addressed at the public hearings.

Cope North 2023 is a Pacific Air Forces-funded multilateral filed training exercise.

A previous news release states that the Pacific Air Forces is a major command of the United States that supports the objectives of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, or USINDOPACOM.

PACAF, in coordination with other components, allies, and partners, provides USINDOPACOM with continuous air, space, and cyberspace capabilities to ensure regional stability and security.

The Cope North 2023 exercise includes a focus on emphasizing the exchange and execution of tactics, techniques, and procedures, while enhancing the interoperability among assets, in a variety of missions.

These assets include U.S. components, as well as the Japan Air Self Defense Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force. The military exercise also serves as an opportunity to train for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and contingency response scenarios.

The trilateral force envisions providing aid in the case of a natural disaster by establishing a “hub” outside of the area of impact where resources can be distributed to “spokes” that are established within the area of impact. In the exercise scenario, participants have determined that Guam will be used as the “hub” location and Saipan, Tinian, and Rota will be optimal “spoke” airfields to accommodate contingency response objectives. The primary goal of the exercise is to strengthen interoperability while developing the capability of the agile employment of forces to be utilized to assist operations during actual disasters and contingency operations.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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