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British forces focus on JLOTS future

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - British forces are observing the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore exercises being held on Camp Lejeune, June 15-20.

British soldiers have established annual training in various exercises with the U.S. in past. This year they are attending JLOTS with the goal of integrating future operations.

"We sent over a small number of us to observe the JLOTS exercise and to see how we can move it forward in the future," said British Capt. Terry Wilcox, Regimental Operations Captain of 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Southampton, United Kingdom.

JLOTS is a critical military capability that allows equipment and sustainment supplies to reach specific areas without the benefit of a fixed port facility. The exercise, involving sailors, soldiers and airmen, increases interoperability and improves military readiness by alleviating situational sustainment issues.

"Britain and the U.S. stand shoulder to shoulder in many operations," said Wilcox. "We need to maintain links of interoperability by exercising together to achieve the same effect."

JLOTS has introduced many scenarios that illustrate why inter-service forces need to train together. One main scenario is a natural disaster, which is a worldwide threat. The importance of a timely response to such disasters could be crucial for survival of many. In 2008, there were roughly 150,000 deaths worldwide due to natural disasters.

"We have a joint responsibility across the world now to put things right," said Wilcox. "We work together as a force for good, opposed as a force for bad. No one nation can really stand on its own."

Coalition forces can improve response times and lessen the burden of logistical coordination by allowing more assets to be made readily available.

Wilcox and his soldiers are also observing JLOTS to assess equipment interoperability for future operations.

"We are trying to bring our equipment together to see how well our landing crafts interface with U.S. ships, shipping and the piers they have been constructing here," said Wilcox.

Annual training between the British and the U.S. has made involvement with JLOTS an easy transition, explained Warrant Officer Class II Steve Finch, Squadron Maritime Operations Officer of 51 Port Squadron.

"These exercises do not happen enough," said Finch. We prove regularly that we can work professionally and properly together."


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