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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Several non-military U.S. agencies will join American and Australian forces in next month’s Talisman Sabre 2011, a joint military and humanitarian exercise, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet confirmed Monday.

The exercise, which will take place July 11-29 off the northern and eastern coasts of Australia, will feature some 22,000 personnel from the U.S., Australia and Canada, Lt. Cmdr. John Perkins said. There will be approximately 14,000 U.S. servicemembers from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army, operating nine ships and submarines, and 135 aircraft.

The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen cooperation and refine response among the participating nations, Perkins said.

This will be the fourth Talisman Sabre exercise. However, for the first time, there will be a significant presence of civilians from government agencies in the U.S. and Australia. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice will be on hand in an attempt to better synchronize their efforts with the military boots on the ground.

“The exercise increases ... flexibility, and readiness,” Perkins said in an email. “Talisman Sabre is a major undertaking, which reflects the closeness of the Australian and U.S. alliance.”

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