NZDF Takes Part in World's Largest Command-and-Control Exercise

22 August 2016

Six New Zealand Defence Force personnel are taking part in the world’s largest simulated command-and-control exercise, which features about 500,000 South Korean and United States troops on the Korean Peninsula.

Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), which runs from 15 August to 2 September, is an annual exercise that allows troops from the Republic of Korea and the United States to train together to ensure they are ready to respond to potential threats in the region.

Military personnel from New Zealand and other United Nations member nations contribute to the readiness of the South Korea-US alliance by participating in the exercise as “sending states”. Their participation is coordinated through the UN Command Multi-National Coordination Centre in South Korea.

“We operate in a coalition environment in nearly all of our operations. By participating in this large-scale exercise our members are able to use simulation to develop their skills in managing a crisis in a multi-national environment,” Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.

“At the Senior Leadership Seminar I attended, challenging scenarios examined decision-making capabilities, as well as the command and control relationships, which are fundamental in any operation,” MAJGEN Gall said.

“The exercise also enhances our defence cooperation with South Korea, the United States and other participating countries.”

The NZDF members are assigned as staff officers in the various headquarters that comprise the combined forces’ command. The exercise requires participants, which includes the South Korean government’s civilian staff, to evacuate civilians and mobilise up to 500,000 combined forces troops as they try to defend South Korea against a hostile attack.

The NZDF has participated in UFG since 2012.  In addition to the US, seven of the 16 “sending states” that provided combat support to the United Nations Command during the Korean War are participating in this year’s exercise. They are New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom.


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This page was last reviewed on 23 August 2016.