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Japanese officers learn III MEF capabilities

11 Jul 2013 | Lance Cpl. Nicholas Ranum

CAMP COURTNEY, Japan - Approximately 50 students and instructors of the Japan Joint Staff College attended a lecture regarding the capabilities of the III Marine Expeditionary Force July 3 at the chapel on Camp Courtney.

The Japan Joint Staff College is the highest level of military education offered for Japan Self-Defense Force members. The college provides classes for senior-level commanding officers and research in the joint-operation environment.

During the visit, the JSDF members increased their knowledge of joint operations and familiarized themselves with the capabilities of III MEF.

“This brief and static display of communications equipment is part of the Japan Observer Exchange Program, which is designed to help familiarize the officers of the JSDF with the capabilities and operations of III MEF,” said Lt. Col. Donald J. Presto, the Japanese exercise and engagement officer with future plans, G-3, operations, III MEF. “As an ally of Japan, we are committed to the security of the region, and we hope to attain greater interoperability with the JSDF.”

The students and instructors were also given an overview of how joint operations are conducted in the U.S. military.

“We are here to study the current joint-military operations between the U.S. military organizations on Okinawa,” said Japan Air Self-Defense Force Col. Hisaya Tanaka, an instructor at the college.
III MEF on Okinawa conducts many joint training exercises abroad, according to Presto.

“This brief explains how III MEF integrates not only with other branches of the U.S. military, but also with the JSDF,” said Presto.
Having the presentation tailored to the JSDF helped convey a more specific message to the students, giving them a better idea of what the JSDF may do in the future, according to Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Capt. Yoshiyuki Tanaka, a student at the college.

“When I go to my next duty assignment I will hopefully be able to apply the things I have learned about joint operations,” said Capt. Tanaka. “The knowledge will be useful not only in working with my fellow JSDF members, but also in future operations with the U.S. military.”

Relationships created and maintained between individuals at different levels of each country’s military was a key topic of the brief.

“A large part of what I learned today was that person-to-person relationships are important,” said Capt. Tanaka. “Through these relationships there will be a strengthening of the bond between the JSDF and III MEF.”

Many of the students and instructors felt the visit was helpful, according to Col. Tanaka. 

“At the end of the day, we want to be able to reflect on this information as instructors and be able to convey it to our students during the course,” said Col. Tanaka. “Being able to do that will increase the ability of the students to see different perspectives and be able to operate better in the future.”

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