U.S.-Japan Exercises Underscore New Strategy Guidance Focus

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2012 — Two bilat­er­al com­mand post exer­cis­es with Japan kicked off yes­ter­day and today, reflect­ing the grow­ing strate­gic impor­tance of the Asia-Pacif­ic region as out­lined in the new defense strat­e­gy guid­ance Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma announced ear­li­er this month.

Japan­ese and U.S. mil­i­tary forces launched Keen Edge 12 yes­ter­day at Yoko­ta, Japan. The bien­ni­al exer­cise con­tin­ues through Jan. 27. 

Today, Exer­cise Yama Saku­ra kicked off, with oper­a­tions to run through Feb. 5. Both exer­cis­es are designed to increase inter­op­er­abil­i­ty of U.S. and Japan­ese forces and their readi­ness to defend against exter­nal threats, offi­cials said. 

By pro­vid­ing real­is­tic, com­bined and joint train­ing that enhances both coun­tries’ com­bat readi­ness pos­ture, they in turn pro­vide for region­al sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bill Clin­ton, a U.S. Pacif­ic Com­mand spokesman. 

“These reg­u­lar engage­ments show­case our com­mit­ment to peace and secu­ri­ty in the region and to the pro­tec­tion of U.S. inter­ests and those of our part­ners and allies,” he said. 

Keen Edge his­tor­i­cal­ly has been part of an annu­al exer­cise series that alter­nates between field train­ing exer­cis­es, called Keen Sword, and com­mand-and-con­trol exercises. 

About 500 U.S. per­son­nel and about 1,380 Japan­ese forces are par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s CPX, dur­ing which head­quar­ters staffs will use com­put­er sim­u­la­tions to prac­tice steps they would take in the event of a cri­sis or contingency. 

Par­tic­i­pants will prac­tice respond­ing to events rang­ing from non-com­bat­ant evac­u­a­tions and force-pro­tec­tion sce­nar­ios to inte­grat­ed air and mis­sile defense to enhance bilat­er­al coor­di­na­tion and coop­er­a­tion, offi­cials said. 

Forces involved will use the com­put­er-based Joint The­ater Lev­el Sim­u­la­tion Sys­tem to direct and respond to exer­cise events. This sys­tem, offi­cials report­ed, helps pro­vide a real­is­tic envi­ron­ment for com­man­ders and staffs as they react and respond in real time to events gen­er­at­ed by com­put­er simulation. 

U.S. par­tic­i­pants in Keen Edge 2012 hail from U.S. Forces Japan head­quar­ters; 13th Air Force, with head­quar­ters at Hick­am Air Force Base, Hawaii, and in Japan through its Detach­ment 1; U.S. Naval Forces Japan; U.S. Army Japan; and Marine Forces Japan. 

Mean­while, near­ly 800 U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel and more than 3,500 Japan­ese forces are par­tic­i­pat­ing in Yama Saku­ra, the largest bilat­er­al exer­cise between the U.S. Army Pacif­ic and Japan­ese ground forces since the Great Tohoku Earth­quake in March. 

About 150 U.S. sol­diers from the 8th Army head­quar­ters ele­ment at Yongsan Gar­ri­son, South Korea, will serve as the high­er com­mand for par­tic­i­pat­ing U.S. forces, which include mem­bers of U.S. Army Japan. 

The exer­cise, offi­cials said, will focus on bilat­er­al and joint plan­ning, coor­di­na­tion and inter­op­er­abil­i­ty of ground-based ele­ments of the U.S. and Japan secu­ri­ty alliance. 

Offi­cials called these com­mand post exer­cis­es a cost-effec­tive way to pro­vide par­tic­i­pants real­is­tic and unob­tru­sive train­ing in a sim­u­lat­ed cri­sis or con­tin­gency oper­a­tion while improv­ing their abil­i­ty to work together. 

Dur­ing senior-lev­el talks between U.S. and Japan­ese mil­i­tary lead­ers last month about future oper­a­tions and engage­ment between the two coun­tries, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ted Kres­ge, 13th Air Force com­man­der, said inter­op­er­abil­i­ty strength­ens the bilat­er­al alliance. 

Kres­ge not­ed the suc­cess of the human­i­tar­i­an relief mis­sion after a mas­sive 8.9 mag­ni­tude earth­quake and tsuna­mi struck Japan last March. Amer­i­can aid to the Japan­ese ulti­mate­ly includ­ed 20 ships, includ­ing the air­craft car­ri­er USS Ronald Rea­gan, almost 20,000 per­son­nel and huge amounts of sup­plies and heavy equipment. 

“As was demon­strat­ed dur­ing Oper­a­tion Tomodachi, there is tremen­dous val­ue added in work­ing and exer­cis­ing side-by-side,” Kres­ge said. “When real-world events occur, we are bet­ter able to oper­ate in a joint envi­ron­ment and respond effec­tive­ly and efficiently.” 

Mean­while, 8th Army offi­cials said Exer­cise Yama Saku­ra helps to ensure its abil­i­ty to oper­ate with its oth­er U.S. and Japan­ese coun­ter­parts to defend South Korea as well as main­tain region­al security. 

“This exer­cise improves 8th Army’s abil­i­ty to deter or defeat aggres­sion on the Kore­an penin­su­la,” said Army Brig. Gen. David J. Con­boy, 8th Army’s deputy com­man­der. “It also helps strength­en the Repub­lic of Korea-Unit­ed States alliance by enabling crit­i­cal staff coor­di­na­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion at the multi­na­tion­al level.” 

Clin­ton said engage­ments like these sup­port the new defense strat­e­gy guid­ance that rec­og­nizes the chal­lenges as well as oppor­tu­ni­ties in Asia and the Pacific. 

That strate­gic guid­ance, announced ear­li­er this month, pro­vides a strate­gic vision intend­ed to guide the mil­i­tary through 2020 with its heavy focus on the region. 

“Through con­tin­u­ous eval­u­a­tion of our force pos­ture and engage­ment activ­i­ties, we will work with our region­al part­ners and allies to main­tain the mil­i­tary strength to pro­tect our inter­ests, defend our allies and deter poten­tial adver­saries from acts of aggres­sion and intim­i­da­tion,” Clin­ton said. 

U.S. rela­tion­ships with Asian allies and key part­ners will remain crit­i­cal to the region’s future sta­bil­i­ty and growth, Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacif­ic Command’s com­man­der, told the Annu­al Hawaii Mil­i­tary Part­ner­ship Con­fer­ence on Jan. 6, the day after the guid­ance was announced. 

In addi­tion to strength­en­ing exist­ing alliances that have pro­vid­ed a vital foun­da­tion for region­al secu­ri­ty, Willard said, the Unit­ed States also will strive to forge clos­er ties with emerg­ing region­al partners. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefence.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →