Malaysia, U.S. Strengthen Ties at Bersama Warrior Exercise Published June 7, 2023 By Lt. Col. Alyson Teeter, Washington Air National Guard KUANTAN, Malaysia - The ninth annual Bersama Warrior exercise began June 6 with an opening ceremony led by Malaysian Armed Forces leaders and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Johan Deutscher, director of the Joint Staff for the Washington National Guard. Bersama Warrior is an annual joint, bilateral exercise sponsored by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and hosted by the Malaysian Armed Forces. This year’s iteration is a staff exercise that provides preparatory planning for the Bersama Warrior 2024 command post exercise. The staff exercise will challenge personnel to plan and coordinate several missions using the military decision-making process and multinational forces’ standard operating procedures. The training will focus on developing capacity to respond quickly to a crisis with greater interoperability, mission effectiveness, and unity of action between U.S. and Malaysian armed forces. “Responding to an emergency situation will continue to be a team effort, whether it is kinetic or non-kinetic, natural or man-made,” Deutscher said during the opening ceremony. “This is why Bersama Warrior is so important.” More than 30 members from the Washington National Guard, a state partner with the Malaysian Armed Forces, are the exercise’s primary training audience. Since signing their formal partnership through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program in August 2017, the Washington National Guard and the Malaysian Armed Forces have met regularly through exercises like Bersama Warrior to enhance mutual capabilities, security cooperation and people-to-people connections. “Our interests are shared interests. Our dedication to a free and open Pacific is not just for a few of us — it’s for all of us,” Deutscher said. The exercise runs through June 16.