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Keen Sword 21: increasing base defense interoperability

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

U.S. Air Force Airmen, 35th Security Forces Squadron, demonstrate search techniques to Japan Air Self-Defense Force Airmen and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect training allows U.S. and Japan forces to exercise plans for contingency operations. Lessons learned from each encounter are used to solidify and improve operational effectiveness. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

A Japan Air Self-Defense Force Airman aims his training weapon down range during a react to contact drill during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise with the 35th Security Forces Squadron, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect is a bilateral contingency operation that allows for each major U.S. installation in Japan to collaborate with a Japanese Self Defense Force Division to ensure adequate security of military facilities and resources across Japan when activated by higher headquarters. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 35th Security Forces Squadron conduct a gate runner bomb threat and ground attack table top scenario during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers, from 9th Division, 5th Infantry Regiment, Aomori, as part of Keen Sword 21 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard & Protect is a bilateral contingency operation that allows for each major U.S. installation in Japan to collaborate with a Japanese Self-Defense Force Division to ensure adequate security of military facilities and resources across Japan when activated by higher headquarters. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shannon Hutto, 35th Security Forces Squadron integrated defense section chief, briefs 9th Division, Aomori, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force leadership on bilateral contingency operations during a three-day bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect training allows U.S. and Japan forces to exercise plans for contingency operations. Lessons learned from each encounter are used to solidify and improve operational effectiveness. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

Japan Ground Self-Defense soldiers, from the 9th Division, 5th Infantry Regiment, Aomori, conduct a practice search during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect is a bilateral contingency operation that allows for each major U.S. installation in Japan to collaborate with a Japanese Self-Defense Force Division to ensure adequate security of military facilities and resources across Japan when activated by higher headquarters. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shannon Hutto, 35th Security Forces Squadron integrated defense section chief, briefs Japan Ground Self-Defense Force leadership about bilateral contingency operations during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect is a bilateral contingency operation that allows for each major U.S. installation in Japan to collaborate with a Japanese Self-Defense Force Division to ensure adequate security of military facilities and resources across Japan when activated by higher headquarters. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Spencer Villanueva, a 35th Security Forces Squadron training evaluator, directs Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers, from the 9th Division, 5th Infantry Regiment, Aomori, during a bilateral guard and protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect training allows U.S. and Japan forces to exercise plans for contingency operations. Lessons learned from each encounter are used to solidify and improve operational effectiveness. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tommy Jones, a 35th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, aims his training weapon down range during a weapon retention demonstration for a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect is a bilateral contingency operation that allows for each major U.S. installation in Japan to collaborate with a Japanese Self-Defense Force Division to ensure adequate security of military facilities and resources across Japan when activated by higher headquarters. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

The 35th Security Forces Squadron, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Airmen and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conduct a bilateral guard and protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 27, 2020. Guard and Protect training allows U.S. and Japan forces to exercise plans for contingency operations. Lessons learned from each encounter are used to solidify and improve operational effectiveness. Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Bulow-Gonterman)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

The 35th Security Forces Squadron practiced base defense with their Japanese counterparts during a bilateral Guard and Protect exercise, as part of Keen Sword 21, Oct. 26-28.

Keen Sword is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability.

The collaboration with Japan Air Self-Defense Force airmen, 3rd Air Wing, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers from the 9th Division, 5th Infantry Regiment in Aomori, Japan, exercise tested the combined force's ability to protect Misawa's war fighting assets.

The Guard and Protect bilateral agreement, signed in 2003, between the United States and Japanese government states during heightened threats to installations throughout the country, JGSDF and JASDF will augment security at U.S installations.

“The intent is for each major U.S. installation in Japan to collaborate with a JSDF units to ensure adequate security of military facilities and resources across Japan when activated by higher headquarters,” said Master Sgt. Shannon Hutto, the 35th SFS Integrated Defense section chief.

The array of training included use of force, suspicious activity reporting, S.A.L.U.T.E reporting, entry control procedures, gate runner, individual and vehicle challenges procedures, handcuffing and searching techniques and vehicle searching.

This training allowed U.S. and Japan forces to exercise plans for contingency operation. Lessons learned from each encounter are used to solidify or improve bilateral operational effectiveness.

“Having the JGSDF general attend was a strong display of support for bilateral planning,” Hutto said. “We provided him information pertaining to where we were, where we are, and where we want to go, with Guard & Protect, and also demonstrated what the JSDF soldiers and airmen learned over the course of three days.”

Testing that coordination, the members of the 35th SFS were able to create even more trust in their partners from the JSDF personnel.

“Whenever we get the chance to exercise with our partners, cohesion is what it is all about,” said Tech. Sgt. Spencer Villanueva, a 35th SFS training evaluator. “During these engagements, we build on the framework of previous exercises, furthering the level of understanding and trust. They showed me how much I can rely on them, and I hope we did the same for them. I know if we ever needed them to defend this base, together we could do just that.”

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