JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command focused on testing Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) interoperability with their Japanese counterpart and other U.S. forces during Keen Edge 18, held 26 Jan. to 3 Feb.

Keen Edge is a joint command post exercise conducted to increase combat readiness and synchronization between United States Forces Japan and the Japan Joint Staff to prepare them to effectively defend Japan or respond to a regional crisis.

Theater Enabling Commands such as the 94th AAMDC use these types of exercises by challenging its staff with complex and robust scenarios where they practice and refine tactics techniques and procedures in the event of a crisis or contingency.

During the exercise Soldiers from the 94th AAMDC coordinated air and ballistic missile defense operations along with personnel from sister services such as the Air Force, Navy and U.S ally forces.

Service members from the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JASDF) were actively engaged in the exercise as a portion of the exercise was taking place in Japan.

"This exercise is really important for us in building a partner capacity through bilateral understanding," said Lt. Col. Takeshi Murakami a Joint Theater Air Missile Defense coordinator with the JASDF.

"Keen Edge is a great opportunity to come together collectively in a strategic and tactical level to further improve our ability to work together improving our readiness," Murakami added.

The exercise also tested the 94th AAMDC expeditionary capability to forward deploy several of its Soldiers to Yokota Air Force base in Japan. The Tactical Command Post-Japan (TAC-J) provided the forward mission command node, which allowed Soldiers to work alongside the JASDF as a coordination element in theater on Yokota Air Base, Japan.

As Soldiers of the 94th AAMDC were fully engaged during the exercise they're also being evaluated.

Soldiers from the Army National Guard 263rd Army Air & Missile Defense Command stationed at Anderson, South Carolina traveled to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to conduct an external evaluation of the 94th AAMDC.

One of those evaluators was Maj. Jason Gordon, the deputy G4 with 263rd AAMDC.

"We're looking at the 94th AAMDC as a whole unit, in how they conduct their processes, standard operating procedures, and overall their ability to accomplish their mission," said Gordon.

The success of the exercise was determined by how the refinement and adjustments of the operations enabled the U.S and Japanese leadership to make decisions.

"The cohesiveness of the 94th was evident throughout the exercise, the 94th seamlessly was able to integrate together as a team while refining their tactics and procedures," Gordon added.

As Soldiers of the 94th AAMDC concluded Keen Edge 18, the exercise further honed and refine the 94th AAMDC ability to Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) interoperability with its Japanese counterparts and other U.S. forces.