U.S., Japan Strengthen Alliance through Joint Synthetic Training Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh, USS George Washington Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan
– Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70 and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) completed a four-day Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint (FST-J) exercise in conjunction with other Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps commands, Feb. 28.

Synthetic training exercises are accomplished while participating commands are in port, simulating a virtual at-sea environment with real-world battle scenarios. It challenges joint forces in tactics and operations, and for CTF 70, it provided a tool for maintaining mission readiness.

“It is a great opportunity and it’s significant because it allows U.S. forces to integrate with the JMDSF,” said Lt. Cmdr. Drew Myers, CTF 70’s Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) officer. “We can simulate what we can do at sea and make it as realistic to combat as possible. Watchstanders carry out the same functions that they would need to do in combat, but we can do it pierside. It is a great training opportunity and it improves our overall mission readiness.”

This large scale exercise, led by Tactical Training Group Pacific (TTGP), included 33 commands and units and was synchronized in eight locations throughout the Pacific area of operations, including; Yokosuka, Okinawa, and Misawa, Japan; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; San Diego; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Fairbanks, Alaska.

The training focused heavily on BMD, while also allowing participating commands to become more familiar with other warfare areas.

“This exercise was the largest and most aggressive in terms of planning that we had done for a FST-J,” said Myers. “The focus was primarily on BMD, with other events focusing on (anti-submarine, surface and air warfare defense). This is the one training event we do each year where we have all of our BMD units present to run different scenarios in order to train the watch teams to get certified.”

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