Putting the “C” in CAOC

Four officers from the Japan Air Self Defense Force on Oct. 24 concluded five days of training and exchange with members of the 13th Air Force at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. The visit took place under the auspices of Keen Edge, a joint bilateral exercise to increase combat readiness and interoperability. Lt. Col. Michael Sutherland, deputy chief of combat plans division for the 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam and team lead for the event, said, “We offered the Japanese insight into how we execute the joint forces air component commander’s mission and identified areas in which the United States and Japan can synergize each of our capabilities driving toward more integrated operations in the future.” The JASDF has relocated its Air Defense Command from Fuchu AB, Japan, to Yokota AB, Japan, to encourage interoperability between the JASDF combat operations center, currently under construction, and the US air operations center at Yokota. “Learning about a U.S.-operated air operations center, as well as the [Air Force forces] and A-staff concepts, was beneficial,” said JASDF Lt. Col. Kazuhiro Hongo, 613th AOC liaison officer. In 2007, USAF projected that initial operational capability the Japanese elements at Yokota, including the ops center, would occur in 2011. (Hickam report by Capt. Genieve David) (For more on the JASDF move and improvements in US-Japan joint operations, read John Tirpak’s Washington Watch: Co-defense Sphere from January 2006.)