US Indo-Pacific Command forces and units from the Japan Self-Defense Force began exercise Keen Sword 21 (KS21) on October 26, on military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding territorial waters.
Keen Sword 21 is a biennial field training exercise sponsored by the US Pacific Fleet. The maneuver will run through November 5. KS21 is designed to enhance Japan-US combat readiness and interoperability.
“As we develop new and better ways to operate and integrate, exercises like this clearly demonstrate the growing strength of the US-Japan Alliance,” said Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, commander, US Forces Japan. “In spite of the immense global impact from COVID, the US-Japan Alliance did not falter and we have remained ready to fight and win.”
An estimated 9,000 personnel from the US Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps will participate, including ships from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and more than 100 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, USS Ashland (LSD 48), HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338), Commander Task Force 72 and 5th Air Force.
Units from the US military and their JSDF counterparts will train in a comprehensive scenario designed to exercise the critical capabilities required to support the defense of Japan and respond to a crisis or contingency in the Indo-Pacific region.
US training will focus on maritime, ground, and air events. Because of the bilateral nature of this exercise, JSDF training will be similar and will exercise a wide range of warfighting capabilities.