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Wed, Aug 13, 2003

Bright Star Extinguished

Plenty of 'Exercise' Already

Department of Defense officials announced the United States will not participate in this year's Bright Star exercise scheduled for September.

The decision was made in view of continued operations in the global war on terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere by the United States and other nations, said officials. The Bright Star exercise will not be held this year. [We were unable to ascertain whether Bright Star is in fact canceled altogether, or if US participation is merely withheld. The words in this news item are the DoD's. We have requested clarification --ed.]

"This was an extremely difficult decision," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "Given our current worldwide commitments, it seemed best to take a temporary break from this exercise, as we did after Operation Desert Storm. Bright Star is one of our most important exercises and reflects the value we attach to our strong relationship with Egypt."

Bright Star is a combined exercise conducted biennially since 1981 in which more than 70,000 troops from more than 10 countries normally participate.

The department regularly evaluates the potential impact of scheduled exercises on real-world operations. To date, 49 of 182 exercises originally intended this fiscal year have been canceled or rescheduled.



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