NEWS

Joint Task Force Homeland Defense
Plays Role in Yama Sakura 61

By JTF-HD Public Affairs


Camp Itami, JAPAN – The annual U.S.-Japan bilateral command post exercise Yama Sakura 61 (YS 61) was conducted Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 2012 at Camp Itami, Osaka, Japan with members of Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) acting as key advisors. Army personnel Lt. Col. Shane Elkins, Cpt. Winfield Swanton, and Sgt. Major John Craig provided their well-rounded expertise to the event by producing command post products for the After Action Review (AAR) while training their Japanese counterparts to do the same.

The exercise is an annual bilateral event designed to strengthen military operations and ties between the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). This year's iteration of the command post exercise was held at Camp Itami in Osaka, Japan; the exercise typically rotates locations among the five regional armies of the JGSDF. "I want U.S.-Japan ties to be further deepened through this exercise," said JGSDF Middle Army Commander Lt. Gen. Ryuichiro Arakawa.

   
(Left) Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) commanding general, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Lt. Gen. Ryuichiro Arakawa offer greetings at the opening ceremony of Yama Sakura 61 (YS 61). The annual U.S.-Japan bilateral command post exercise was conducted Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, 2012 at Camp Itami, Osaka, Japan. The exercise is an annual bilateral event designed to strengthen military operations and ties between the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). (Official Department of Defense photo) (Center) U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) soldiers, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) personnel work side by side during Yama Sakura 61 (YS 61). The annual U.S.-Japan bilateral command post exercise was conducted Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, 2012 at Camp Itami, Osaka, Japan. The exercise is an annual bilateral event designed to strengthen military operations and ties between the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). (Official Department of Defense photo) (Right) U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) and Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) personnel at work during Yama Sakura 61 (YS 61). The annual U.S.-Japan bilateral command post exercise was conducted Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, 2012 at Camp Itami, Osaka, Japan. The exercise is an annual bilateral event designed to strengthen military operations and ties between the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). (Official Department of Defense photo)

Since inception in 1982, the exercise has focused on the development and refinement of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) and U.S. Army - Japan efforts in the areas of bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability through training. In addition to JTF-HD's involvement, elements of the USARPAC's Contingency Command Post (CCP), U.S. Army Japan, I Corps (Forward), and Japans Middle Army were key participants.

"Approximately 800 U.S. forces and 3,500 JGSDF personnel were involved this year," said Craig. A new twist finds soldiers from the Eighth Army, Republic of Korea, participating. "This exercise exemplifies a continued commitment by the U.S. and Japan to work as dedicated partners in support of the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, and for continued peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region," Elkins said.

Yama Sakura 61's four primary objectives included training U.S. ground forces for deployment to Japan in the event of contingencies; exercising JSDF and U.S. capabilities for the Defense of Japan; preparing U.S. forces for combined, multi-national and joint full spectrum tactical operations; and increasing interoperability between U.S. forces and the JSDF.

Headquartered at Fort Shafer, Hawaii, Joint Task Force Homeland Defense (JTF-HD) maintains situational awareness of all domains within the JTF-HD Joint Operations Area; executes mission command of assigned forces in the land domain to conduct Homeland Defense operations to deter and defeat threats to critical infrastructure and key resources and when requested/validated, conducts Civil Support operations in response to all hazards to mitigate human suffering and reduce infrastructure damage.