US special operations forces pass a gate on their way to their objective during Jackal Stone 2016. US Army photo by Staff Sgt Marcus Fichtl

During the initial weeks of August, U.S. special forces Soldiers joined forces with the State Security Services of Georgia for an exceptional exercise known as Jackal Stone 2016. Held in Georgia, this military event was created to refine and challenge the interoperability between American and Georgian counterterrorism units and their interagency collaborators.

The unique structure of Jackal Stone 2016 allowed mission command nodes to put their systems to the test while dealing with complex counterterrorism situations across Georgia. Both tactical and operational levels were addressed in this exercise, making it a comprehensive training ground.

Nicholas Berliner, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, expressed the importance of Jackal Stone 2016. He emphasized that the exercise was a simulation of collaborative responses to terrorist threats in foreign territories, strengthening the collective ability to tackle international security challenges.

Rescued hostages are ushered away from the objective. Image from DVIDS

The collaboration between Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) and U.S. European Command with Georgian forces was a centerpiece of Jackal Stone 16. These teams worked together in field missions and utilized computer simulations to improve their efficiency at operational and strategic levels.

Maj. Ned Marsh, a SOCEUR exercise planner, praised the Georgian forces for their trust, loyalty, and hard work throughout the exercise. He highlighted the exercise as an example of dedication and mutual commitment.

Jackal Stone 16 proved invaluable for Georgia in enhancing its internal systems and capabilities. Irakli Chimakadze, the director of the Georgian Counter Terrorism Center, found the coordination and execution process demonstrated by the U.S. to be an essential learning experience, vowing to adopt similar planning and execution in future crisis situations.