PHILIPPINE SEA -- Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70 conducted flag talks with their counterparts from Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), Fleet Escort Force, aboard the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in the Philippine Sea, Aug. 5.
During the talks, the staff discussed maritime strategy and best practices for force operations and bi-lateral integration at sea.
“CTF-70 staff’s close relationship with Vice Admiral Fukuda and his team ensures our ability to demonstrate integrated capabilities across multiple domains, strengthens both maritime forces, and enhances our collective defense,” said Rear Adm. Michael Donnelly, commander, Task Force 70. “This visit allowed us to continue to focus on confronting shared challenges and solidifying a relationship that underpins our close alliance--an alliance built on shared interests, shared values, and a commitment to freedom.”
Discussions focused towards potential future exercises, operations, and engagements the 7th Fleet task force will conduct with the JMSDF.
“The unprecedented strong relationship between the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy has contributed to improving the deterrence and coping power of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and strengthening its resilience. It contributes to not only defense of Japan but also to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and world,” said Vice Adm. FUKUDA Tatsuya, commander, Fleet Escort Force.
This was the second flag talks conducted by these two staffs this calendar year, and the third held since November.
CTF 70 has also worked with their JMSDF counterparts from within the Information Warfare (IW) community as well. Over the past year, CTF 70 and JMSDF IW teams have made progress in expanding collective warfighting capabilities through routine exercises and exchanges. In April, CTF 70 and JMSDF IW teams conducted a conference aboard Ronald Reagan where they spoke face to face on topics of information warfare.
"These engagements have been fantastic for both teams, not only in building an improved baseline of knowledge, but also building trust in each other,” said Capt. Kurt Mole, Information Warfare Commander, Task Force 70. “This is my third tour of duty in Japan, and the IW relationship is stronger today than ever before. I'm confident that we'll continue to achieve even greater heights in the future."
In May of this year, units from Carrier Strike Group 5 and JMSDF conducted group sail exercises as well as a cross-deck helicopter exercise involving a JMSDF helicopter.
Also in May, a group of JMSDF Sailors embarked aboard Ronald Reagan where they observed U.S. Navy operations including firefighting and damage control during general quarters, flight operations, watch-standing and navigation events.
The U.S. and Japan Maritime Self-Defense have been partnered in the Indo-Pacific for more than 60 years.
U.S. 7th Fleet exercises operational control of its units through designated Task Forces or Task Groups. These groups are organized along domain and functional lines. CTF 70 is theater strike warfare commander and theater air and missile defense commander.
CTF 70 is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest forward-deployed fleet in the world, and with the help of and network of alliances and partners from 35 other maritime nations, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for more than 70 years; providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.