SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado -- The Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense hosted five members of Japan's Joint Staff in July in Colorado Springs. This was the fourth consecutive year JFCC IMD hosted Japanese staff officers, in what has become a staple training event for both nations.
JFCC IMD assumed this training event in 2014 following seven years of sponsorship by the Missile Defense Agency. This engagement with the Japanese Joint Staff is part of JFCC IMD's ongoing effort
to build, sustain and support partnerships with ally nations through training and familiarization.
"Given the increasing global threat, leveraging joint, allied and partner integration is essential," said Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, JFCC IMD's commanding general. "We must continue to emphasize and advance interoperability and integration through operations, exercises, foreign military sales, and other security cooperation opportunities."
All five Japanese officers said the training improved the partnership between Japan and the United States and that they appreciated the importance of this course in the current climate.
"I hope this course grows every year," said Lt. Col. Atasushi Kamata who is part of the ballistic missile defense operations and plans section on the Japan Joint Staff. "Considering the situation around Japan, we need this training and support about BMD."
One of JFCC IMD's key tasks, as an organization, is to integrate and synchronize joint BMD training, exercises and test activities. More than 3,400 individuals from around the world receive training from JFCC IMD, and in this particular instance, the training was conducted under the governance of the Foreign Military Sales training procedures.
"Obviously, Japan has BMD, and we are always looking to improve and learn the ways the U.S. is using BMD," Maj. Takahiro Nakagawa said. "It's helpful from a bilateral perspective."
While in Colorado Springs, the Japanese officers were able to participate in some sightseeing to include the Air Force Academy, Pikes Peak, Bass Pro Shop and a Colorado Rockies baseball game.
"While in Colorado Springs, our visitors normally try to participate in a number of our local events and activities, such as mountain climbing and hiking, the zoo, and attending a Rockies game in Denver," JFCC IMD Joint Training and Education Chief Ron Dennison said. "They also enjoy our local dining establishments."
Kamata enjoyed his stay so much that he plans to tackle one of the area's biggest outdoor offerings if he makes a trip back.
"If I have chance to come back [to Colorado Springs], I will climb Pikes Peak," said Kamata.
JFCC IMD synchronizes missile defense planning, conducts BMD operations support, and advocates for missile defense capabilities in support of U.S. Strategic Command, other combatant commands, the services, and appropriate U.S. government agencies, to deter and defend the U.S., deployed forces, and its allies against ballistic missile attacks.