Ex Hamel 15
Exercise deputy director Colonel (Col) Steve D’Arcy said Hamel was the most important single activity Army conducted.
“It is Army’s pinnacle high-end collective training activity,” Col D’Arcy said.
“A good portion of Army’s people can expect to participate and I would think the vast majority learn considerably from the experience regardless of their individual roles.
“This exercise will continue to evolve into the future, as we strive to become a truly joint warfighting organisation and Hamel may well become an important activity in the joint training cycle.”
While Talisman Sabre this year was split between Queensland and the Northern Territory for the first time, Hamel was again played out in the dusty, challenging “classroom” that is the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
Although 7th Brigade (7 Bde) was the “brigade in the box” this year, pitted in a force-on-force exercise against a similar opponent, the lessons of Hamel have far wider implications.
While 7 Bde’s relative strengths and weaknesses will be identified and scrutinised, allowing subsequent brigade training to be shaped accordingly, Col D’Arcy said there was a “level of deep insight” that could be gained by Army as a whole.
“These insights will enable higher echelons of command to address any big ticket deficiencies identified and to equally ensure the successes are understood,” he said.
“The most important outcome is what we as an Army collectively learn and that we use that to become a better warfighting organisation.”
To that end, Hamel itself evolves and changes.
In 2014, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance were the focal points. This year, that focus shifted to evaluating the digitally enabled command and control system, sustainment system, warfighting capability, command and control and interoperability with US and New Zealand troops.
“This year’s exercise was about evaluating whether a reinforced combat brigade can fight in combined task force against a dynamic enemy with capabilities similar to ours in a mid-intensity warfighting scenario,”
Col D’Arcy said.
“Next year will be different again, but at its core Hamel will be a very tough test for those in the box.”