US, Japan to hold Keen Edge computerized command exercise
By AARON KIDD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 19, 2016
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — American and Japanese servicemembers will unite this week for a bilateral command-post exercise that uses computer simulations to prepare them to effectively defend Japan or respond to a regional crisis.
Keen Edge 16 — scheduled to start Saturday and run through Jan. 29 at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo and other venues throughout Japan and Hawaii — will use a Joint Theater Level Simulation system that provides a “realistic, though simulated, environment from which commanders and staffs improve their skills by anticipating and reacting in real time” to computer-generated events, a U.S. Pacific Command statement said.
Officials will not discuss specific exercise scenarios; however, past Keen Edge drills have simulated natural disasters and attacks against Japan’s sovereignty.
“The purpose and real value of this training has always been to facilitate the interaction between and improve the interoperability of the U.S. forces and Japan Self-Defense Forces,” said Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Tiffany Carter, U.S. Forces Japan media relations chief.
Escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula after North Korea conducted its fourth underground nuclear test on Jan. 6 won’t have an impact on the exercise, Carter said.
“This training … has been a routine, recurring event for many years,” she said. “Planning for Keen Edge 16 began a year ago.”
About 600 personnel from U.S. Forces Japan headquarters; 5th Air Force; U.S. Naval Forces Japan; U.S. Army Japan; and Marine Forces Japan will take part in the drills, the statement said.