Exercise Southern Star 2022 provided Chilean Armed Forces a platform to showcase its capabilities alongside coalition forces from August 15-25. Southern Star is a joint special operations exercise that is designed to develop collaborative skills and build interoperability for counterterrorism operations.
Over 1,000 international troops gathered to participate in the 7th iteration of exercise Southern Star. Southern Star has provided many opportunities across the board to include special forces operations as well as integration of logistic branches.
This year’s exercise had three participating nations and three observing nations. Chile hosted the event while the United States and Spain provided participating support assets. Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia participated as observers.
Support elements from Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) and the Military Freefall Team from 7th Special Forces Group were among the personnel directly involved with training events. Teams established, organized, and operated a Joint Force Headquarters capable of sustaining coordination through multiple exercise locations. Special forces operators also worked alongside coalition forces as they executed counterterrorism and parachute missions.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity and a challenge for us to forward deploy from multiple different surfaces,” said U.S. Army Major Dan Sickles, lead planner for SOCSOUTH exercise Southern Star 2022. “We have Navy Seals, Air Force Special Tactics, army Special Forces ODAs [Operational Detachments-A] who are operating in austere different locations commanded and controlled from a central location in a combined joint special operations task force.”
Events executed included special operations reconnaissance, personnel recovery, joint planning process, medical response drills, and interoperability capabilities. Nations worked together to demonstrate the tactical and professional proficiency held by both the host nation and its participating partner forces.
According to participating Chile Special Forces team leaders, Southern Star has been a long lasting enrichment to both capabilities for operational forces and bonds between friendly forces. Special operations teams focused on foot patrols, technical training of direct action as well as military free fall procedures.
Along with demonstrations of interoperability among participating nations, the Chilean Army displayed its ability to utilize internal assets to be a self-sufficient force and regional leader. Aviation assets supplied aircraft for parachute and fast rope drills along with troop mobilization. These aviation assets directly supported ground operations through multiple locations as simultaneous exercises took place.
“Southern Star is an exercise for integration, not only in relation to special operations but also the headquarters element,” said Captain Karina Kauzlarich, communication officer with the Chilean Army. “Five female enlisted soldiers, two officers, and three noncommissioned officers operated communications and logistical support alongside our male counterparts. We have completely integrated our fields, which has in turn further developed our operational capabilities.”
Female integration into operational support elements has been an adjacent component that Southern Star 2022 has facilitated. The integration supports the Women, Peace, and Security policy that promotes gendered perspective and women’s equal and meaningful participation in peace processes, peacebuilding, and security. Exercise Southern Star 2022 has created a multidimensional stage to showcase and enhance capabilities of all participating assets as both nations and individuals.