September 25, 2020 – Units from the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and U.S. military will conduct exercise Keen Sword beginning Oct. 26, 2020.
Keen Sword is the latest in a series of joint/bilateral field training exercises since 1986 designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of the JSDF and U.S. forces.
During this year’s iteration, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF) Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) and U.S. Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force will conduct multiple amphibious landings both unilaterally and side-by-side on several islands in the vicinity of mainland Japan. A Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate will also participate in the maritime portion of the exercise.
Approximately 9,000 U.S. service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force will conduct training with their JSDF counterparts from military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding territorial waters.
Exercises like Keen Sword provide the JSDF and U.S. military opportunities to train together across a variety of mission areas in realistic scenarios, enhancing readiness, interoperability, and building credible deterrence. Further details of the exercise will not be released until the start of the exercise due to operational security.
The following units are scheduled to participate in Keen Sword: U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Forces Japan, III Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. 7th Fleet, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, and 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment.
In coordination with public health and military medical personnel, every aspect of Keen Sword is continually being assessed to ensure appropriate COVID-19 mitigation measures are taken. The planning focus of mitigation measures were to protect service members and their families; prevent the spread of the virus to U.S. forces, local residents, allies; and ensure warfighting readiness in order to accomplish assigned missions.