REDSTONE ARESENAL, Ala. -- A delegation from the Japanese army visited Redstone Arsenal Oct. 24 and 25 to understand the role and mission of Army Materiel Command and Army logistics.

Led by Japanese army Maj. Gen. Shin Nozawa, the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force officials met with Gen. Gus Perna, AMC commanding general, and other AMC leaders to learn firsthand how the U.S. Army operates in the logistical environment.

"I went to the Pentagon last year and had a discussion with Gen. Perna, who was at the time the U.S. Army G-4," said Nozawa, director of logistics for the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force. "He is my logistical teacher. I am very interested in the logistical support to sustain the U.S. Army all over the world. This is very critical information that I learned today."

While at AMC, Nozawa received an AMC overview briefing by Kevin Bostick, director of AMC's Logistics Integration Directorate. The Japanese general said he was surprised by the 64,000-strong workforce in AMC and its use of contractors to assist with mission objectives.

"To have contractors supporting the foundation of the organization is really shocking to me," Nozawa said. "In the case of the Japanese Self Defense Force, there is no concept of using the private sector in our functions. The information about contracting support and contractors is very helpful to me. This will give us a lot more options to improve our capability."

Similar to how the American military is facing budget constraints, the Japanese military faces the same challenges of diminishing resources while balancing mission priorities.

"In order to tackle these difficulties, I believe a contractor workforce could be a very beneficial entity," said Nozawa, who is a 2000 graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. "We do utilize the civilian private sector for research and development programs, but we never see Japanese government civilians and military working with contractors."

After visiting AMC, Nozawa visited Maj. Gen. Douglas Gabram, commanding general of the Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, to thank him and his staff for the support given to Japanese army Lt. Col. Hiromichi Suezawa, who is temporarily working at AMCOM. The Japanese delegation also visited Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, commanding general of Army Security Assistance Command, and Dr. Deborah Barnhart, director of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, to discuss current programs.

"The Japanese Self Defense Forces have purchased a lot from USASAC, and it is important to have further discussions on how to maintain the support from them," Nozawa said.

While Nozawa and the Japanese delegation learned the key role Army logistics has to American objectives, the general also stressed relationships and strategic alliances play a vital role in national defense.

"For the defense of Japan, the U.S-Japan alliance is the most critical key," Nozawa said. "I'm so glad that these series of discussions have been going on at each function level; not only the army-to-army discussions, but also each service closely coordinating and cooperating with each other. JDSF has zero combat experience since its establishment more than 60 years ago, so U.S. forces are always the organizations that we have been looking up to. I hope we can enhance our relationships in the future."