The US Fleet Forces (USFF) and the US Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM) have started a synthetic, scenario-based simulation exercise, Bold Alligator 2016 (BA16), in Norfolk, US.

BA16 is designed to train the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 and 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB), and will see participation or observation from different command elements of 15 nations.

During the exercise, a MEB-sized amphibious assault from a sea base is expected to be staged in a medium land and maritime threat environment and anti-access / area denial (A2AD) environment to enhance naval and amphibious core competencies.

"The Bold Alligator series has been invaluable to the Navy-Marine Corps team's amphibious operations."

USFF deputy commander vice-admiral Richard Breckenridge said: "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.

"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."

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MARFORCOM commander lieutenant general John Wissler said that BA16 will leverage on modern simulation technology to refine joint and combined amphibious operations right from planning to execution.

Wissler added that during the exercise, the combination of realistic simulation technologies and existing communications infrastructure will enable the US Navy and Marine Corps team as well as international partners to train for amphibious combat in a complex environment.

In 2014, Bold Alligator saw the US navy and Marine Corps team along with coalition partners focus on crisis-response operations.

Image: Sailors in action on amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) during exercise Bold Alligator 2016. Photo: courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hunter S Harwell/Released.