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Keen Edge

The annual Keen Edge/Keen Sword exercise series alternates each year between Keen Edge, a command post exercise (CPX) and Keen Sword, a field training exercise (FTX). Command post exercises are a cost-effective way of practicing command and control procedures that would be used in a crisis. Exercise participants will use the computerized joint theater level simulation system which simulates movement of forces and equipment in the field. Commanders and staff learn from the interactive training portions of planning and execution.

Keen Edge tests how well U.S. and Japanese forces work together in battle, how Japan self-defense forces measure up in joint operability, and if conflict occurred, how would Japanese leaders respond to requests for military support? Since, Japanese law limits the military's clout, an understanding of this limitation is essential to American military leaders.

Keen Edge 95

The November 1995 exercise 'Keen Edge' involved 26,500 troops from the US and Japan, including 400 planes and 27 ships, and was reportedly the largest ever joint exercise. Keen Edge may have been a substitute for the cancelled US-South Korean exercise 'Team Spirit', which was cancelled as part of the US-North Korean nuclear agreement.

In June 1994, CALIFORNIA joined the USS KITTY HAWK battle group in the Western Pacific for the ship's first deployment in five years. CALIFORNIA exchanged personnel with the Republic of Korea Navy for a combined exercise and with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force for ANNUALEX 06G and KEEN EDGE 95. In June 1994, VINCENNES departed on her fifth Western Pacific deployment Transiting with the USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) Battle Group, VINCENNES performed duties as Anti-Air Warfare Commander for the Battle Group. During deployment, VINCENNES conducted an Anti-Submarine exercise, PASSEX 94-2, with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, the bilateral exercise MERCUB 94-2, a joint U.S. and Singaporean Navy exercise of the Malaysian peninsula, and the bilateral exercise KEEN EDGE, with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.

Numerous training events were conducted during Exercise Keen Edge '95 at Camp Ojojihara, Japan, to introduce U.S. and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers to each other's way of doing business. For the Japanese, the US method of passage of lines was most interesting. They were very impressed with the way US soldiers use hand signals instead of loud verbal commands. Besides gaining an understanding of how the Japanese army operates, the 700 U.S. soldiers who participated in Keen Edge '95 were also exposed to aspects of Japanese culture.

Keen Edge 96

Keen Edge 96, a Joint/Bilateral Command Post Exercise involving Japan Self Defense Forces and United States military forces, was conducted at U.S. and Japanese military installations throughout Japan from January 25, 1996 to February 2, 1996. During Keen Edge 96, various Japanese and U.S. military headquarters used computer simulations of force employments. Computer simulations were used to train the staffs to solve the operations, intelligence, logistics, and communications challenges of joint and bilateral combat operations. Approximately 4,000 US military participated in Keen Edge 96, including those assigned to the Headquarters U.S. Forces Japan; Fifth Air Force, SeventhFleet, Commander Naval Forces, Japan; U.S. Army, Japan; III Marine Expeditionary Force, and, for the first time, U.S. Army I Corps from Fort Lewis, Washington.

Keen Edge 98

In February 1998, U.S. forces took part in Keen Edge, a command post exercise, which simulated movement of forces and equipment in the field. Keen Edge '98, a joint/bilateral command post exercise involving Japan Self Defense Forces and U. S. military forces began Feb. 12 and ran through Feb. 20. The exercise takes place at U.S. and Japanese military installations throughout Japan. During Keen Edge '98, Japan and U.S. military headquarters staffs used computer simulations of force employment to test tactics, techniques and procedures. Exercise participants used the computerized joint theater level simulation system, which simulates movement of forces and equipment in the field. Approximately 2,200 U.S. and Japan military personnel participated in Keen Edge '98, including those U.S. forces assigned to Headquarters, U. S. Forces Japan; Fifth Air Force; Seventh Fleet; U.S. Naval Forces Japan; U.S. Army Japan; and the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Japan Engineer District (JED) team was put to the test during a training exercise, U.S. Forces Japan's (USFJ) "Operation Keen Edge." The situation -- an earthquake, 7.0 on the Richter Scale, hit the Yokota Air Base area. The base sustained severe structural and infrastructure damage, including its hospital. The hospital was also working to capacity handling the injured. People were still trapped in collapsed buildings and government quarters. An Emergency Operations Center had been established and recovery operations were in effect. All military units in Japan had been notified for assistance and JED's STOLS team was activated. The mission -- the team was to assist recovery operations by locating and rescuing victims until relieved by other recovery agencies or when activation orders were terminated.

Keen Edge 2000

With the passage of implementing legislation by Japan's Diet in May 1999, KEEN EDGE 00 provided the first opportunity to exercise new areas of cooperation permitted by the revised Guidelines. Training involved 5,000 Japanese personnel and 1,350 Americans. It included Japanese rear-area support for U.S. forces and practice of noncombatant evacuation operations of Japanese citizens abroad.

In alternating years, the two nations hold a computerized war game, dubbed "Keen Edge." Keen Edge is considerably smaller and only one week long. Like any command-post exercise, Keen Edge is also heavy on brass, as headquarters staffs wrestle with a computer-generated crisis and role players on phones. Keen Edge took place at USFJ headquarters at Yokota Air Base and Japanese Self-Defense Force headquarters, both near Tokyo.

With technology continuing to change, the Air Force is always looking for better ways to do business. During the Japan-wide command post exercise Keen Edge 2000, one initiative from the Air Force's Force Protection Battlelab at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, was tested, and lauded by users at Yokota as a giant technological success. The Force Protection Command and Control System, or FPC2, was first field-tested at Foal Eagle '99 in Korea. Although the FPC2 was used for base-level command, control, communications and computer information, people in United States Forces Japan had bigger goals in mind for the project. The system, which greatly enhances commanders' situational awareness, was introduced to the Air Force in the spring of 1999 at the 2nd Force Protection Equipment Demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Defined as an advanced concept technology demonstration, or ACTD, the FPC2 basically provides a tool for tracking virtually anything in a given theater of operations. For example, during Keen Edge 2000, USFJ headquarters was the primary command and control operations center. They needed to know -- and keep track of -- everything from terrorist threats to incidents happening within all military facilities in Japan.

Keen Edge 2002

Approximately 1,300 U.S. and Japanese personnel participated in Keen Edge 02, including those assigned to U.S. Forces, Japan headquarters, Fifth Air Force; Seventh Fleet, Commander Naval Forces, Japan; U.S. Army, Japan; and III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Four space officers assigned to Pacific Air Forces provided space support to the Commander, United States Forces Japan and Commander, United States Air Forces Japan during the bilateral command post exercise, Keen Edge 02. The "Space Cell" presented daily space status briefings to the commander, requested reach-back support, performed daily missile warning duties, and supported the Air Force and Joint Information Operations Working Groups. Additionally, upon completion of the exercise the three weapons officers were asked to conduct a "Red Team" analysis against Fifth Air Force operational plans.

Reservists of U.S. Forces Japan Detachment 105 set the pace in both training and supporting the war on terrorism. While having several of its unit members recalled to the U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) staff, the unit fulfilled another training mission by participating in exercise Keen Edge 2002. Members of the Naval Reserve unit from Akron, Ohio, made the trip to Yokota Air Base outside Tokyo for this periodic training evolution.

Keen Edge 2004

Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi conducted its annual basewide Force Protection exercise Feb. 17-23. The exercise tested patrolmen on how they respond to real-world scenarios. During the event, role players tackled contingencies through the Joint Theater Level Simulation (JTLS), a simulation that allows the participants to anticipate and react in real time to the situations generated by the computer. At any time during the dates of the exercise, day or night, First Responders, such as security personnel, patrol cars, fire trucks and even ambulances will respond to the simulations. These responses can take place anywhere on NAF, including housing areas, and may even require the closing of one or more of the base gates. Although the exercise situations are designed to seem as real as possible to the participants, the actual threat of danger to personnel was minimal.

Some of the goals for the exercise included allowing the U.S. and Japan to exercise pre-built coordination procedures, mechanisms and venues in the context of a realistic scenario. During the exercise, role players practiced the steps they would take in the event of a crisis or contingency within the United States Pacific Command's (PACOM) area of responsibility (AOR). PACOM is one of five regional combatant commands.

USJFCOM's Joint Warfighting Center sent 90 personnel to support the exercise. The group included technicians, an after-action review (AAR) team and a 55-person exercise control group and represented a combination of military, government service and contractor personnel.

Keen Edge 2007

Approximately 300 Airmen and six Japan Air Self Defense Force liaison officers participated in the bilateral command post Exercise Keen Edge, which began on February 1. Sailors and civilians, both U.S. and Japanese, at U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Yokosuka played a key logistics role in support of the exercise.

Positioned to serve as a theater Joint Force Air Component Command, the exercise allows the 13th Air Force to test and refine processes in that role. Because the exercise is a command post exercise using computer simulation of force employment much of the air component work is handled at the 613th Air and Space Operation Center here.

Activated as the 613th AOC Oct. 6, the AOC is the heart of the exercise. It is the execution arm of the fight, exercising the command and control and command post piece of the air defense of Japan. It is responsible for developing the air tasking orders that will tell pilots and Airmen in the region what they need to do. Working with the Japanese liaison officers on integration and interoperability, AOC members will also learn how to integrate each country's forces to respond to contingency operations, natural disasters and humanitarian efforts.

FISC Yokosuka, with its sites and detachments throughout Japan and the western Pacific, is responsible for regional logistical support including beans, bullets, bandages, black oil and bundles of mail. FISC Yokosuka and its cadre of Japanese logisticians, contract specialists and support personnel is poised to provide support in a real-world contingency.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:30:03 Zulu