YOKOSUKA, Japan -- U.S. 7th Fleet hosted leadership and staff from III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, for Naval Integration staff talks, February 14-18.
The staff talks are held biannually to align Naval Expeditionary Force leadership, discuss future integration opportunities, and strengthen partnerships and alliances. Additionally, this conference facilitates innovative discussions to address regional challenges as a joint maritime force.
“There is no sturdier, more capable, or more lethal partnership in the Western Pacific than the one that exists between 7th Fleet and III MEF,” said Lt. Gen. James W. Bierman, Jr., commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Forces Japan. “On a daily basis the Sailors and Marines of these two forward deployed fighting organizations campaign, compete, and operate together… our combined efforts send a strong signal to would-be adversaries and friends alike.”
Staff from 7th Fleet, subordinate commands, and personnel from III MEF and supporting commands, arrived in Yokosuka earlier this week to engage with their counterparts on topics such as expeditionary advance basing, command and control opportunities, integrated fires support and theater littoral warfare as a whole.
“Our close relationship with the Marine Corps has developed a powerful joint force that is uniquely capable of operating from highly-mobile expeditionary bases on land and from the sea… projecting strength in a manner that is rapid and unique within the joint force,” said Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.
Participants from the ‘blue-green’ team were encouraged to present ideas through an open dialogue on ways to further challenge the Navy-Marine Corps team outside of routine operations. Staff members also led conversations on how to best synchronize with our joint forces and regional allies and partners in order to advance 7th Fleet-III MEF warfighting concepts and implement guidance put forth by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps leadership, such as the Commandant’s Planning Guidance and the recent Indo-Pacific Strategy.
III MEF is a forward-deployed, expeditionary air-ground-logistics team of approximately 27,000 Marines, capable of military operations ranging from major combat operations to humanitarian aid and crisis response.
U.S. 7th Fleet provides security alongside allies and partners throughout a free and open Indo-Pacific. As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet has approximately 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with more than 25,000 Sailors in the region at any given time.