News: JGSDF and US Army conduct executive academic ciscussion
Story by Maj. Kevin Toner
CHITOSE, Japan -
As part Yama Sakura 65, the annual bilateral command post exercise between the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the United States Army, senior leaders from both met for an executive academic discussion at “Friendship Hall” here Dec. 4.
The discussion focused on four themes aimed at improving the exercise and preparing for disaster relief or contingency operations: bilateral operations, characteristics of land warfare in Japan, decision-based maneuver, and legal jurisdiction.
”When I first attended Yama Sakura over 15 years ago, our armies were completely separated in different buildings and didn’t interact, which wasn’t effective,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general of I Corps. “Today we’re going over the differences of our armies and we’re learning how to not let those differences slow us down, but learning how we work through and around them so we’re both better.”
The three hour discussion gave the Japanese and U.S. military officers the opportunity to identify operational differences and ways to overcome them to ensure successful bilateral operations.
“It’s the whole reason we’re doing this exercise,” said Brown. “We spent a lot of effort and planning. If something happens anywhere in the Pacific, be it a humanitarian disaster or contingency operation, we have to fight together and help save people’s lives. We can do it more efficiently and effectively having a clear understanding.”
Lt. Gen. Kishirou Tanabe, commanding general of the JGSDF Northern Army , concurred with Brown’s assessment of the discussion.
“The primary purpose of these discussions is to clearly understand our mutual differences and be able to coordinate throughout the exercise,” said Tanabe.
“Discussions like this make Yama Sakura a much better exercise,” said Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer, Sr., commanding general of United States Army Japan. “Having a good understanding is critical before going into an exercise of this magnitude. We were able to have a very frank discussion because our alliance and partnership is so strong.”