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Pentagon seeks to improve training opportunities in Japan

The Pentagon is looking for ways to better utilise existing training opportunities in Japan to improve deterrence in the region, according to a key officer.

Lieutenant General Kevin Schneider, US Forces Japan commander and chief of 5th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Yokota Air Base, Japan, said on 1 December that most of the United States’ high-end training for ground and air forces stationed in Japan take place outside the nation. This is because the Pentagon does not have the training ranges, air space, and freedom of manoeuvre or flexibility that Lt Gen Schneider wants for US forces to maintain their highest level of readiness.

The Pentagon performs CV-22 low altitude training at Camp Fuji in Japan. The US wants to better utilise training opportunities in Japan to improve deterrence in the region, but this requires ‘local understanding’, which a top Pentagon official said can be a tough conversation. (Boeing)

The Pentagon performs CV-22 low altitude training at Camp Fuji in Japan. The US wants to better utilise training opportunities in Japan to improve deterrence in the region, but this requires ‘local understanding’, which a top Pentagon official said can be a tough conversation. (Boeing)

Lt Gen Schneider said that US Air Force (USAF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Forces (JASDF) must train at Red Flag in Nevada to perform high-end training such as all-altitude and all-spectrum. This includes electronic warfare (EW) and using live munitions.

“I believe it chips away at our deterrent value if we are having to take the show on the road and go somewhere else to train,” Lt Gen Schneider said during an Air Force Association (AFA) event. “I think there is a lot we can do with reveal and conceal if we are able to do that here in Japan all the time, or to a greater extent than we do right now.”

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