By Petty Officer 1st
Class David R. Krigbaum
Commander, U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo Public Affairs
SASEBO, Japan (Nov. 2, 2016) The Guard & Protect 2016 opening ceremony was held at Commander, U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo on Nov. 2, 2016. Guard & Protect is an annual bilateral exercise between American forces and Japanese self-defenses forces involving the U.S. Navy, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
During Guard & Protect Japan Self-Defense Force personnel deploy to U.S. Forces Japan and JSDF joint installations throughout the country to augment their security forces as they would during an emergency.
“Continuing to build the U.S. Navy’s relationship with the Japan Self Defense Force is an important step forward as we work together in defense of Japan,” said Capt. Matthew Ovios, CFAS commanding officer. “I am encouraged by our discussions earlier this year and look forward to a more realistic scenario that tests our command and control and rules of engagement.”
According to Aki Nichols, CFAS training officer, this year’s exercise will be more integrated and will exercise a new concept of operations that was jointly developed for Guard & Protect by CFAS, JGSDF and JMSDF. Exercise participants will be CFAS, the JGSDF 16th Infantry Regiment from Camp Omura and JMSDF Sasebo Area Guard Group.
This year’s exercise will take place around CFAS and include drills that test force protection measures and handling attacks. Though a regional exercise, it is conducted independently at each installation and the drills are tailored to the locations’ unique needs and operational schedules.
JMSDF Capt. Hiroyuki Terada, JMSDF Sasebo Area Guard Group commanding officer, explained why he believes these exercises are important, as he brought up recent events and regional security concerns, during his remarks at the ceremony.
“Sasebo, and our bases located here have great strategic value,” said Terada. “All of us share responsibilities to protect our bases and facilities here.”
This is the 11th iteration of the exercise.