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Commanding Officer, USS Bataan (LHD 5) Capt. Eric N. Pfister, left, greets Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command, Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). Bataan is participating in exercise Bold Alligator 2016, a multinational amphibious exercise practicing joint force entry operations in a contested environment as part of the larger series of exercises designed to increase amphibious capabilities among participating nations.

Photo by Cpl. Calvin Shamoon

Bold Alligator 2016 exercises amphibious forces

16 Aug 2016 | U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) Command and Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM) commenced Exercise Bold Alligator 2016 (BA16) in Norfolk, Aug. 15.

BA16 is a synthetic, scenario-based simulation exercise designed to train Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB).

As part of the exercise, both staffs are planning and executing a MEB-sized amphibious assault from a sea base in a medium land and maritime threat environment and anti-access/area denial (A2AD) environment to improve naval, amphibious core competencies.

"The Bold Alligator series has been invaluable to the Navy-Marine Corps team's amphibious operations and has increased our interoperability and cooperation with our allies and partners," said Vice Adm. Richard Breckenridge, deputy commander, USFF. "As a synthetic exercise, Bold Alligator 2016 creates a unique opportunity to evaluate planning processes, execute command and control across the amphibious force and provide valuable experience for all participants, setting the conditions for success in Bold Alligator 2017, next year's live exercise."

Previously, BA14 focused on crisis response operations in a complex setting with coalition partners. The capabilities that allow amphibious forces to conduct a forcible entry against an opposing military force are the same capabilities that make it the first, best choice for crisis response, humanitarian assistance and building partnerships.

BA16, while synthetic, prepares American service members and coalition partners for Bold Alligator 2017 which will draw from this year's afloat and ashore planning to train amphibious forces in a real-world environment. As part of BA16, 15 countries are participating or observing from different command elements in the Hampton Roads area.

"Bold Alligator 2016 capitalizes on modern simulation technology to refine joint and combined amphibious operations from planning to execution, with a focus on translating the ongoing exercise efforts to follow-on live exercises," said Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commander, MARFORCOM. "The combination of realistic simulation technologies and existing communications infrastructure during this exercise provides the Navy and Marine Corps team, along with our international partners, the ability to rigorously train for amphibious combat in an ever-increasingly complex environment by leveraging the efficiencies of virtual and constructive training tools, all the while developing the most valuable warfighting commodity -- personal relationships between military professionals."

Improving Navy-Marine Corps amphibious core competencies along with coalition, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), allied and partner nations is a necessary investment in the current and future readiness of U.S. forces.