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NEWS | Dec. 13, 2021

Joint Command Post Exercise between the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) and U.S Army

By Lt. Col. Daniel Powell 412th Theater Engineer Command

CAMP ITAMI, Jpn. – The 206th Digital Liaison Detachment (DLD) supported the 25th Infantry Division (ID) by participating in the 40th annual Yama Sukura (YS) 81, the largest United States-Japan bilateral- and joint-command post exercise, here from 1-13 December.

The 206th’s primary objectives during the YS-81 were to establish relationships between the Japan’s Middle Army (MA), the 4th Battalion of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), and the 25th ID to bridge the existing interoperability gap.

The 206th used its capabilities by co-locating its liaisons and mission command systems in the MA command post, such as the Command Post Computing Environment (CPCE), Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), Air and Missile Defense Workstations (AMDWS). The liaisons established rapport and built trust with the MA leveraging its people and systems to maintain a bilateral common operating picture (COP) between the MA and the 25th ID.

The exercise, which focused heavily on Movement and Maneuver, Fire, and Air and Missile Defense, produced a demand that the DLD was able to fill, effectively provide key information in support of a bilateral attack, cross boundary fires, and positioning of key AMD assets.

Col. Michael Child, the 206th DLD Commander, said, “To bridge an existing interoperability gap, DLD Liaisons have to provide procedural, technical, and human support to our Japanese Unified Action Partner (UAP). Through these lines of effort, they build trust, streamline information flow, and provide the right information for both deliberate and dynamic decision making.”

During YS-81, the 206th DLD positioned its liaisons and systems next to MA Soldiers creating a “swivel chair capacity” that enabled both armies to coordinate rapidly, make updates, providing an effective bilateral COP.

Sgt. First Class Travis Blackwelder, the 206th DLD Senior Operations Non-Commissioned Officer, added, “We are here to bridge the chaos with a complete operating picture for our unified action partner.”

The DLD presence enhanced the MA’s ability to work as dedicated partners in this U.S.-Japan security alliance that will only improve in future training events. This experience led the 206th to believe future requests from the Japanese for their return will strengthen relationships and further bridge the interoperability gaps between the countries.