As Australia’s foremost provider of maritime security services, CPA Group has for over 20 years been requested to support US Navy exercises off the Queensland coast.

Once again this year we were heavily involved in the Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 a bilateral combined Australian and United States training activity.

Occurring every two years, Talisman Sabre is a major exercise presenting a huge logistical challenge for our Security division under Tad Pattillo. With large numbers of deployed Maritime Security Guards required, where advance notice is often very short for security reasons,  Tad and his team must be ready to answer the call.

Talisman involved up to 25,000 personnel operating across the maritime, land and air domains inclusive of the exercise participants and exercise control and logistics functions.

Our role was to provide the maritime security to support the exercise including access control and personnel and baggage security screening.

As with any such assignment, our team has to combine a firm exercise of the maritime security procedures with a welcoming and positive outlook to ensure all personnel are able to efficiently go about their business. We hope they all leave with a positive experience to remember.

The statistics tell only part of the tale, but they are impressive.

  • CPA Group staff employed on the exercise: 60 guards were on standby to respond to any requirements asked of CPA Group relating to the naval visit.
  • Maximum CPA Group staff deployed at any one time: 81
  • Number of personnel screened: On the final night of the USN Ronald Regan visit a total of 7,380 personnel were screened to go back onboard the vessel
  • Number of missed shifts: 0

Over and above the numbers, (impressive as they are), it was the feedback from the US Navy organising team that was most pleasing and surely a source of great pride for Tad and his team. At the final debrief, it was decreed the best visit any of the USN team had ever experienced.

At CPA Group Brisbane Head Office, we are so proud of the team, and we were delighted to welcome many members to the office for a well earned BBQ and beer on the deck!

We asked Tad for comment:

The exercise was a great challenge for the team with large numbers to deploy sometimes at quite short notice.

I was very proud of the team, we did not miss a shift and we received really positive comments from senior members of the navy personnel.

In total there was 24 naval vessel berthings ranging from Australian, Chinese, USN, Japanese, French and also Canadian Navy vessels at various berths. 

Our guards were able to show great versatility in attending various berths to cover any of the naval arrivals.

Overall the whole exercise came down to the team on the ground who complied with late notice changes of shift or sites to ensure the whole operation ran smoothly and also to ensure our day to day requirements were met.

The team provided great customer service and displayed great organisational skills in the running of the operations required.

In closing the whole of the CPA Group team from site Supervisors to Security Officers bonded together in preparing rosters and working outside of their day to day operations to make the operation a success.