Keen Edge: Readiness of U.S., Japan forces to be put to the test
January 10, 2009
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force will link up next week for a bilateral command post exercise in which computer-generated "emergencies" are used to test reaction capabilities in real time.
Keen Edge, designed to increase combat readiness and cooperation between forces. will involve about 350 U.S. and 1,300 Japanese personnel.
U.S. Forces Japan said its participants include Commander, Naval Forces Japan; U.S. Army Japan; Marine Forces Japan; the 13th Air Force, Detachment 1; and USFJ headquarters staff.
Navy Cmdr. Ted Getschman, USFJ’s operations and exercises branch chief, said the "primary control cells" for Keen Edge will be at Yokota and Camp Ichigaya in Tokyo, the JSDF headquarters. Other U.S. bases also could conduct some related training and activities, he added.
During the drill, he said, U.S. and Japanese headquarters staffs will create simulations to practice steps they’d take in an actual crisis or contingency.
"How do we talk? How do we execute when we’re trying to perform different tasks? We can practice those mechanisms in Keen Edge … [and] make sure our methods of coordinating operations are in line with what the Japanese do," Getschman said.
He declined to discuss exactly what kinds of scenarios will be rehearsed. In past exercises, "incidents" have ranged from natural disasters to threats against Japan’s sovereignty.
The U.S.-Japan exercise also enhances stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Getschman said.
"We become more familiar with each other’s systems and procedures," he said. "But this exercise also sends a message to others in the area that our alliance works, and it’s active."