U.S. and Thailand set dates and agenda for Cobra Gold

Military officials from the United States and Thailand have finalized the dates and agenda for the 2019 iteration of Cobra Gold, the multilateral military exercises and trainings jointly hosted by the two allies and in which 29 nations will participate next month in the Kingdom.

The 38th annual Cobra Gold will take place February 12 – 22 at several locations around the Kingdom. Thailand has set up a multinational headquarters for the event in the central province of Phitsanulok. While military readiness is always a priority of Cobra Gold, the exercises also serve to strengthen the Thai-American alliance, and build goodwill.

As part of Cobra Gold, soldiers from Thailand, the U.S., and other countries give their time and effort to community development projects in Thai villages such as building schools or providing health care and trainings.

Each Cobra Gold has a focus, and this year’s focus will be on trainings for military chiefs of staff and staff officers to strengthen their command and control skills. Highly develop command and control abilities are crucial to successful military missions and operations.

The officers will receive advanced instruction on how to plan military training, civic assistance programs, field training, and other activities. Staff officers from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Britain, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Fiji will participate in the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team drill.

Troops from Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia will participate in the main trainings, while Chinese and Indian soldiers will take part in an additional civil assistance program drill.

Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Israel, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland will attend other exercises in their status as observer nations.

As preparations for Cobra Gold were underway, U.S. troops were already in Thailand drilling with their Thai counterparts in the bilateral, annual Hanuman Guardian exercises last week. Hanuman Guardian works to enhance the mission readiness and interoperability of the two militaries.

The exercises this year will emphasize readiness and efficiency in carrying out disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. Asia-Pacific is the region that experiences the highest number of natural disasters, and militaries play a critical role in responding to them. However, the drills also cover a variety of combat tactics.

A total of 800 soldiers from the U.S. and 900 from Thailand took part in Hanuman Guardian.

“This comprehensive training will further enhance our two nations’ partnership and ability to work together to meet challenges in the region,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Preston, the Deputy Commanding General – Support for 25th Infantry Division. “The important relationships, interoperability, and combined capabilities needed to succeed in such an endeavor are built during exercises like this.”