An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Deployed B-1s join U.S. forces, JSDF for Exercise Keen Sword

  • Published
  • By 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
  • 28th Bomb Wing
B-1 bombers from the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed to Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, joined U.S. forces and the Japan Self-Defense Force for Exercise Keen Sword 17, which took place Oct. 30 to Nov. 11, 2016.

Keen Sword is a joint and bilateral exercise held biennially off the coast of Japan. Keen Sword tests Japan-U.S. interoperability in a number of mission areas to include integrated air and missile defense as well as amphibious operations.

"The 34th EBS flew 20 sorties in support of the US-Japan bilateral field training exercise," said Lt. Col. Seth Spanier, commander of the 34th EBS. "This was the first time B-1s have ever participated in exercise Keen Sword, and marked the most operationally and tactically significant integration seen to date between Japanese Self Defense Forces and U.S. long-range strike assets."

All participants are trained to conduct bilateral operations in support of the defense of Japan and this exercise is designed to increase combat readiness and unit cohesiveness within the framework of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

“Operational readiness is a guiding principle for U.S. Forces [and] Japan,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, commander of U.S. Forces Japan. “Keen Sword 17 is an opportunity to increase readiness by providing a realistic training environment for U.S. forces and the JSDF to practice, evaluate and improve our coordination procedures and interoperability requirements.”

Approximately 11,000 U.S. military personnel participated in KS17. The forces involved conducted training with their JSDF counterparts at military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa and in the air and waters surrounding Japan, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

"The exercise marked the first ever integrated close air support training between B-1s and JASDF forces, in which multiple B-1s conducted joint close air support alongside JASDF F-2 tactical fighters," said Spanier.

Significant training activities during KS17 included air and sea operations, integrated air and missile defense, and ballistic missile defense in order to keep pace with the growing ballistic missile threat in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. As U.S. and JSDF forces continue to work together, they improve on interoperability between the two nations.

“The Indo-Asia-Pacific region holds the majority of the world’s people and trade. As we face an increasingly tense security environment, large-scale field training exercises like Keen Sword are a decisive demonstration of the strength of our alliance, as well as our shared commitment to peace and stability in the region,” Martinez said.

Originating in 1986, Keen Sword has been a recurring exercise meant to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and increase combined combat readiness within the framework of the alliance.

"In addition to the numerous tactical lessons learned that have greatly increased the joint warfighting capability of the U.S. and Japan, perhaps the most important outcome of Keen Sword 17 was the interaction and relationships formed between the individual American airmen and the men and women of the Japanese Defense Forces," Spanier said. "The friendships made during this exercise will no doubt be long lasting and will help further the cause of peace and prosperity in the Pacific for years to come."