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FAQs

Q. Where is the exercise taking place?
Q. Does the name of the exercise have any significance?
Q. What’s it called?
Q. What forces will participate in the exercise?
Q. How can we be assured that service members will behave while off duty in Australia?
Q. Which ships will visit local ports and when?
Q. Will exercise participants be allowed into the local area?
Q. How will the risk to public safety be managed?
Q. Will depleted uranium munitions be used throughout the exercise?
Q. Will there be any experimental technologies or weapons used throughout the exercise?
Q. What environmental measures are put in place to ensure the protection of local areas?
Q. Does the United States plan to put more bases in Australia? What is the Government’s position
Q. Do protesters affect the exercise?

Q. Where is the exercise taking place?

A. This year marks the first time, the Exercise will take place simultaneously within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), near Rockhampton, Queensland and Fog Bay / Bradshaw Field Training Area, south west of Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Q. Does the name of the exercise have any significance?

A. As this is a joint exercise, the Australians provided the word ‘Talisman’ and the US provided the word ‘Sabre’. There is no symbolic meaning in the name.

Q. What’s it called? Is it Saber or Sabre?

A. Australia is the lead planning authority for Talisman Sabre 2013. As such, this year it is Sabre, not Saber.

Q. What forces will participate in the exercise?

A. TS15 is a joint exercise with forces from the Australian, United States and New Zealand Army, Navy and Air Force, and the United States Marine Corps.

Q. How can we be assured that service members will behave while off duty in Australia?

A. Defence personnel have been briefed on proper conduct both on and off duty. We expect them to adhere to the same high standards no matter where they are. US service members are considered ambassadors of the United States, and are well aware of the code of conduct to which they must adhere. As such, we will do our very best to ensure that our visit here strengthens the ties between our two countries.

Q. Which ships will visit local ports and when?

A. Exact dates of port visits are not released until just before the ship arrives. Ship visits to area ports will take place in conjunction with the exercise and will be publicly announced upon ship arrival in port. Port visits of US military ships will be announced by the US military.

Q. Will exercise participants be allowed into the local area?

A. Exercise participants will have the opportunity to visit various areas in Australia in conjunction with the exercise.

Q. How will the risk to public safety be managed?

A. Strict management and controls restrict public access to the training areas throughout TS15. Defence will continue to work with local communities to ensure access around the training areas are clearly marked and easily identified. Temporary restricted areas will be established for both marine and airspace, which prohibits public access for the duration of the exercise to ensure public safety. Rigorous risk management principles that carefully consider safety requirements will be employed during the exercise to continually monitor and respond to identified risks.

Q. Will depleted uranium munitions be used throughout the exercise?

A. No. Depleted uranium munitions are not in the Australian Defence Force inventory and are not permitted to be used for use by foreign or domestic forces within Australia. Depleted uranium munitions will not be used.

Q. Will there be any experimental technologies or weapons used throughout the exercise?

A. The purpose of the exercise is to develop interoperability between the ADF and US Forces and to redefine defence procedures, not to test weapons. New technologies, for example in communications, surveillance, management and reporting systems may be trialled. Experimental weapons in the form of biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear will not be used. Some non-lethal weapons, such as those used in electronic warfare to destruct enemy communication may be used.

Q. What environmental measures are put in place to ensure the protection of local areas?

A. For all aspects of the exercise, extensive consultation takes place between the ADF, US Forces and Australian government environmental agencies to identify and minimise potential environmental impacts through the development of Talisman Sabre 2015 Environmental Management Plan.

Q. There are no United States plan to put more bases in Australia? What is the Government’s position on this?

A. We do not have United States military bases in Australia and we are not proposing to have any.

Q. Do protesters affect the exercise?

A. The ADF respects the democratic right of Australians to comment about Government or Defence policy. Our main concern is with the safety of any protesters, the public and our soldiers, sailors and air men and women.
As with previous Talisman Sabre exercises, we will continue to work closely with the State Police Forces to ensure our people and equipment are safe. We thank the people of central Queensland and the Northern Territory for their support of the ADF and patience during this time of increased military presence in the area.