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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2014

Naval Leaders Discuss Bilateral Logistics Partnership between US, Japan

By Sky M. Laron Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka Corporate Communications

Naval logistics leaders from the United States and Japan met Dec. 4 at the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Maritime Staff Office (MSO) in Tokyo for the 7th annual N4-N4 Talks to discuss logistics in action and their bilateral relationship.

Taking care of ships and ensuring parts and supplies are delivered on time to the vessels and Sailors who need them is a priority for naval supply leaders from both the United States and Japan.

Understanding how each service conducts business was an important part of the discussion between the two delegations.

"It is a great honor to host these Navy to Navy talks," said Capt. Tomonori Yokota, director of Logistics Planning and Supplies Division, Logistics Department, MSO. "Understanding each other's logistics systems is invaluable for the U.S. and Japan."

The topics of conversation included everything from port visit processes to the transportation of supplies and equipment, with both sides sharing where they have had successes as well as difficulties in executing their mission.

"With the tyranny of distance in this AOR (area of responsibility) it is absolutely critical that we have the best lines of communication in place to ensure material gets to where it needs to go," said Cmdr. Mark Sheffield, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center (NAVSUP FLC) Yokosuka, Operations Department director and N4-N4 U.S. presenter. "When you look at NAVSUP's support to operations spanning from the Aleutian Islands to Sydney and Guam to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, understanding what capabilities and material needs to be where and when is vital because ultimately we exist to ensure these ships perform their mission of defending the interests of the United States of America and keeping the sea lanes open."

It is the responsibility of NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka to assist in the smooth movement of ships into and out of the 7th Fleet AOR and to support the forward-deployed naval forces with all of their logistics requirements on a daily basis. Maintaining key alliances with partners and friends is part of that process.

"I think these discussions are important as a means of information sharing and learning from each other," said Capt. Raymond Bichard, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka commanding officer. "More importantly, these talks strengthen the bond between our two navies and our two countries."

With both teams working toward similar goals of supporting their respective ship customers, the way the work is accomplished is uniquely their own.

"During all of my bilateral engagements, I find it interesting, the differences and similarities between the businesses of our two navies," said Bichard.

The message echoed at the conclusion of this engagement was clear, rest assured, even if the processes used by these logistics leaders can differ, the relationships forged between them is strong and will benefit both organizations well into the future.

As the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the Sailors, Marines, Japanese Master Labor Contract, U.S. Civil Service and contract employees at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka provide the forward-deployed maritime warfighter with 24/7 operational logistics support integrating an extensive service provider network to deliver fuel, material, mail, and supply chain services across the U.S. Navy's largest geographical AOR.
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