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British, US Marines improve intelligence cooperation during exercise

British, US Marines improve intelligence cooperation during exercise
Pfc. Erick Galera

A British soldier addresses U.S. Marines and British soldiers before commencing Exercise Phoenix Odyssey II in Edinburgh, U.K., Oct. 25, 2015. The exercise is designed to bring both forces together to develop more effective ways to conduct joint intelligence operations and execute military skills. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Erick Galera/Released)

EDINBURGH, United Kingdom – U.S. Marines with 2nd Intelligence Battalion and British forces began an exercise enhancing intelligence cooperation and gathering tactics between the two nations, Oct. 25.

For the second straight year, Exercise Phoenix Odyssey brings both countries together in order to enhance interoperability and improve intelligence tactics for potential real-world dangers. In 2014, British soldiers teamed with the Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., establishing a partnership in which the service members are looking to develop further during this iteration.

“Last year, EPO was the first opportunity for us to come together and identify who we are and what we do as intelligence professionals, and begin to understand the challenges of a combined intelligence environment,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Jake Hubbard, the EPO II detachment officer-in-charge. “This year, we are building on that by standardizing our procedures and emphasizing our analytical skills in an even more complex scenario.”

For the next two weeks, U.S. Marines and British soldiers are conducting a series of intelligence exercises designed to expand operational proficiency, participate in military skills training with opportunities to conduct live-fire events and field training, and receive professional military education throughout the Edinburgh and Stirling Castle area.

“Between both units we have a lot of operational experience, so hopefully we can pass this knowledge on to the junior Marines,” said British Army Warrant Officer Class 2 Jason Gardner, a permanent staff instructor with 5 Military Intelligence Battalion.

Continuing to build crises-response capabilities, the Marine Corps and their British counterparts are working to gain a better understanding of one another’s attributes while also learning how to continue developing joint intelligence operations.

“The beauty of the exercise is that it’s operating in a [fictional] country that we don’t necessarily understand very well and are not operating in presently,” said Hubbard.

“This is an exercise where we can afford to make mistakes so we ultimately don’t make those same mistakes in country,” said Gardner.

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