PHILIPPINE SEA (Sept. 15, 2014) The guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) fires two SM-2 missiles during exercise Valiant Shield 2014. Air and sea units from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force participated in the sinking exercise of ex-USS Fresno (LST 1182) to gain proficiency in tactics, targeting and live firing against a surface target at sea in conditions that couldn’t be simulated otherwise. (U.S. Navy/CS2 Fidel C. Hart)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - Exercise Valiant Shield 2014 kicked off with more than 18,000 joint force service members from 30 units, including 200 aircraft and 20 ships in, and around, the island of Guam beginning Sept. 15.

The exercise will demonstrate a wide range of capabilities designed to test the inherent flexibility of joint forces. These capabilities range from maritime security operations, anti-submarine, air defense and space and cyber warfighting proficiencies in an environment that could not be simulated otherwise.

“When you think of the U.S. military in the Pacific, you want credible combat power,” said Rear Adm. Russell Allen, Valiant Shield exercise director. “The true test of a force is its ability to detect, track and engage targets with live sensors and weapons systems. The U.S. military does that more than anyone. Valiant Shield 2014 focuses on integrated training that helps us do it even better.”

Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only, biennial field training exercise with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces. This training enables real-world proficiency in sustaining joint forces through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace in response to a range of mission areas.

The lessons learned from exercises like VS14 help the U.S. develop regional and global power projection capabilities and enhance its ability to defend its interests and those of its allies and partners around the world.

“Training like this is absolutely invaluable. It provides the deterrence and stabilizing effects of an integrated force that is ready at the outset of a contingency without delays for buildups or extensive mission rehearsal,” Allen said. “It refines the military’s ability to respond to crisis across the spectrum of operations from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to armed conflict.

“Simply stated, the experience our forces gain from working together helps us to provide the best possible support to our allies, partners, and friends in the region for a wide variety of missions, when and where they’re needed most.”

Valiant Shield integrates U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps assets in a blue-water environment, refining their ability to present a seamless joint force and respond effectively to any contingency in a timely manner.