Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 leadership and staff conducted bilateral talks with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) counterparts from Kure Naval Base, Dec. 8-9 at U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo.
The December visit followed initial November talks in Kure with JMSDF Commander, Landing Division 1, during which the staffs discussed ways to integrate, interchange, and innovate, furthering U.S.-Japan alliance and partnership.
“My counterpart, Commodore Matsumi, and I both believe that integrating our staffs – putting JMSDF officers aboard our ships, and vice versa – is critical to developing our relationship,” said Capt. Greg Baker, PHIBRON 11 commodore. “Learning how best to command and control each other’s assets will help us build an enduring process for the future. A word that I am shamelessly taking from the Landing Division is interchangeability. I believe that best describes our combined vision for the end state with the JMSDF.”
The December staff discussion focused on future exercises, operations, and engagements PHIBRON 11 will conduct with their Japanese counterparts, including coordinated humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which is one of PHIBRON 11’s many capabilities. Baker said meeting regularly with partners and allies is key to successfully integrating blue-green teams from both nations – the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, along with the JMSDF and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force – to exercise multi-domain capabilities together.
Staff talks allow commanders to plan for future operations, work through challenges or lessons learned, while building toward greater collaboration when their forces operate together in the maritime environment.
“Our Alliance with Japan is stronger than ever because of close and constant engagement at all levels, and it’s never been more important to the region than it is right now,” said Baker. “Together, we are committed to working through many of the same fundamental issues, for the long-term benefit of both nations.”
The Sasebo-based PHIBRON 11 is the Navy’s only continuously forward-deployed amphibious squadron. It includes the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), amphibious transport dock ships USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and dock landing ships USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47).
The ships of PHIBRON 11, along with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, are a flexible, self-sustained crisis response force capable of a wide range of missions including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This blue-green team is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.