YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Units and personnel from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) conclude Bilateral Advanced Warfare Training (BAWT) exercise March 4.
BAWT is an annual bilateral training exercise that improves the partnership between U.S. and Japanese forces. This year’s exercise, which began Feb. 28, focused on enhancing the readiness and interoperability of coalition forces from the U.S. and JMSDF.
“Exercises like BAWT strengthen our alliance and serve as a reminder of the iron-clad commitment of the United States and Japan to maintaining stability in a free and open IndoPacific region,” said Capt. Chase Sargeant, commander, Task Force 71. “These are the exercises that allow our surface and air forces to hone our skills so we can execute routine, seamlessly integrated operations to deter aggression or respond in crisis.”
The United States and Japan have forged a relationship built on a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and regularly conduct bilateral exercises and operations to strengthen regional adherence to international norms.
Participants included Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Higgins (DDG 76), and USS Dewey (DDG 105), the Asahi-class destroyer JS Shiranui (DD 120), and Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDG 181). This year’s iteration of BAWT also integrated III Marine Expeditionary Force’s 5th Anglico, JGSDF Western Army and U.S. Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing One.
This year was the first time integrating the U.S. Marine Corps and JGSDF into BAWT. The USMC Fifth Air Naval Gun Liaison Company (5th ANGLICO) and JGSDF Western Army each embarked shipboard and airborne target spotting elements for Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) events at the Farallon de Medinilla range in the U.S. Marianas Islands. This provided a rare opportunity to practice bilateral, joint command and control of live fire against land based targets.
“It is my great pleasure to have successfully completed this high-end bilateral exercise,” said Rear Adm. Nishiyama Takahiro, commander, Escort Flotilla One. “I am confident that, through realistic and practical warfighting training, BAWT 2022 has raised the tactical skills of participating assets and improved joint operation capabilities with JGSDF as well as interoperability with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and thus, it has contributed to enhancing the joint readiness posture of the Japan Self-Defense Force and to strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance for effective deterrence and response.”
Exercises like BAWT support the U.S. Navy and JMSDF mission to develop regional capabilities that provide layered defensive options to protect their interests and those of their allies and partners. The participating forces exercised a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of combined forces. These capabilities range from maritime security operations to more complex anti-submarine and air defense exercises.
BAWT enhances the ability of the U.S. Navy and JMSDF to work together to confront any contingency and prepares forces to provide the ready, credible deterrence that stabilizes the Indo-Pacific, and promotes peace and prosperity for all nations throughout the region.
Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15 is the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principle Surface Force. U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet is the largest forward-deployed fleet and routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting mission to preserve and protect critical regional partnerships.