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PACAF, Japan Airmen conduct ISR exchange

by Staff Sgt. Nathan Allen
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

3/31/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Pacific Air Forces' Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Airmen visited their Japanese counterparts at Naha and Kadena Air Base, Japan March 11 to 13 to find new ways to enhance ISR bilateral cooperation between the U.S. Air Force and the Koku-jieitai, or Japan Air Self Defense Force.

The visit, co-led by Maj. Gen. Yoshinari Marumo, JASDF Operations and Intelligence director, and Col. Lisa Ann Onaga, PACAF ISR director, focused on a mutual desire to increase security cooperation in the Pacific.

'In order to maintain and develop the Japan-U.S. alliance, shared awareness is essential, and I believe that ISR exchange is an essential prerequisite for having this shared awareness,' said Marumo.

The exchange began inside a JASDF YS-11EB ISR aircraft at Naha, before conducting a similar sharing forum at Kadena Air Base inside a U.S. Air Force RC-135 V/W Rivet Joint ISR aircraft.

'We've done similar ISR engagements with the Koku-jieitai in the past; however, not to this level of detail or interaction,' Onaga said. 'These types of events will only increase in number and scope as we explore opportunities to mutually improve ISR capabilities and capacity with Japan.'

After the static display forums, the Japan-U.S. ISR exchange concluded with a roundtable discussion at Kadena AB.

'The Japan-U.S. ISR Airmen crew exchange is a good opportunity for professionals, at the front line who concentrate to carry out their missions in a tense environment, to learn about each other's intelligence collection and analysis procedures, and also share each other's ideas,' Marumo said.

Marumo also said he hopes to continue an extensive Japan-U.S. ISR exchange ranging from general and colonel level to ISR crew level to help strengthen intelligence cooperation.

'Regarding activities such as maintaining sovereignty in territorial waters and airspace surrounding Japan, Ballistic Missile Defense, and Operation Tomodachi after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I am confident that having a bilateral working relationship with the U.S. Air Force ISR will contribute to the security and stability of the region, as well as help accomplish the JASDF missions,' said Marumo.

Onaga said she was thrilled with the progress made during the exchange and expects ISR engagements between PACAF and the JASDF to continue to expand.

'This particular engagement was extremely successful and we look forward to stepping up these types of events in the future,' she said.

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