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By Lt. Joe Greenspan, U.S. Navy Reserve Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
MAKO Sentry is one of three “MAKO” Chief of Navy Reserve-directed exercises specifically created to enhance Reserve capabilities to plan and execute at the Operational Level of War (OLW). MAKO Challenge is a Fleet Forces Command-planned exercise along with 2nd, 4th, 6th and 10th Fleet Sailors. MAKO STORM is a 5th Fleet-driven series for the Central Command Area of Operation (AOR). All are designed to ensure Reserve members are seamlessly integrating with their active duty OLW counterparts.
OLW is the level of war between strategy and “on the ground” execution. The Navy Reserve community is particularly experienced in this level of war after providing the majority of forces during the 20+ years executing in land-based operations in the Central Command AOR.
Vice Adm. Mustin, Chief of Navy Reserve and Commander, Navy Reserve Force, in his Navy Reserve Fighting Instructions, points out that OLW is a crucial part of the strategic depth the Reserve Community provides to the nation’s strategic defense.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see all of you here working together, learning, participating, and doing the hard work,” Mustin said during his visit to MAKO Challenge 23 earlier this year. “These exercises bring all the right constituents together for focused real-world simulation. I want each of you to view this with a sense of urgency, bring value to the team, and get qualified. Our Active Duty counterparts need to know that we are ready to do what is required on day one.”
“The implementation of NRFI is crucial,” said Deputy Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Rear Adm. Larry Watkins. “We’re using this training scenario and training series to help everybody understand what it means to work in a MOC and execute at each functional area by building expertise in every role.”
Each MAKO exercise – and, indeed, the whole series – continue to evolve the interoperability between the fleets within each exercise, and the pass through after action reports to the next “MAKO” creates more complex, demanding real-world training environments.
“When looking at each individual MAKO exercise in succession, they continue to leapfrog one another, pushing the boundaries of our capabilities as a reserve force ensuring the highest level of warfighting readiness from our sailors,” said Rear Adm. Grant Mager, Reserve Deputy for Operations, Plans and Strategy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
This iteration of the series added the participation of 3rd and 7th Fleet sailors. Previous iterations had PACFLT Sailors on-station as the numbered fleets were simulated. This scenario provided an opportunity for the Echelon 3 commands to work live with their PACFLT higher headquarters. Structuring the training environment this way enhanced communication capabilities between echelons, which is crucial within an OLW and real-world environment. .
“This is the first time we’ve had a really good understanding of our intent. We’ve seen excellent combined numbered fleet activities (3rd and 7th fleet working with PACFLT) and we’ve gotten more fidelity within our roles,” said Watkins.
“Marines can come in, integrate with us, and learn what the MOC is all about,” said Mager when commenting about future participation from the Marine Reserves. “Their participation will be critical to helping them understand how we are going to fight at PACFLT and Fleet Forces with blue and green in the MOC.”
Looking forward, one of the goals is to increase the training audience. “Whether we are able to increase the number of MAKO exercises we hold, or get more people involved in the exercises we currently have, the reserve force’s ability to train to their roles will continue to enhance our readiness,” said Mager. The MAKO Series is changing the way the Navy Reserve community trains within its own ranks. It enables members to better understand their roles, develop hands on MOC expertise, and make the joint force stronger.