REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – Soldiers served alongside members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to strengthen space operations between U.S. and Japanese forces.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s 1st Space Brigade provided an Army Space Support Team and three space subject matter experts in support of I Corps during the Yama Sakura 83 exercise in early December. The ARSST provided space expertise to the supported command and staff, integrated space capabilities across all warfighting functions, and provided the commander situational understanding of the space domain and associated terrestrial effects in a contested environment.
“Exercises like Yama Sakura enable 1st Space Brigade Soldiers to exercise their support to coalition and allied partners in addition to the joint force,” said Maj. Paul Meyers, 1st Space Brigade plans and exercises officer. “During exercises, the ARSSTs get the ability to conduct realistic training prior to short-notice mobilizations maintaining their specialty skillsets. 1st Space Brigade Soldiers provide close space support to all exercises they participate in. Space effects are difficult to tangibly replicate during training events, and exercises such as Yama Sakura have evolved to closely emulate friendly and adversary capabilities.
“ARSSTs repeatedly emphasize the importance of space capabilities to the training audience and shape the dynamic environment for the brigade’s Soldiers to operate in,” Meyers added. “As knowledge of the space domain increases, so will the integration of space capabilities. The technical exchanges between the Soldiers of the Brigade and the Japanese Self Defense Forces have and will continue to build strong alliances with our partners and will cement the Brigade’s position as the go-to organization for tactical integration to produce operational space effects through the employment of space capabilities.”
Yama Sakura 83 enabled participants to work as dedicated partners in support of the U.S. Army and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force security alliance. It is designed to increase Joint force lethality; enhance design and posture; strengthen alliances and partnerships, exercises, experimentation and innovation while focusing on multidomain and cross-domain operations.
The 2nd Space Battalion’s ARSST 51 supported I Corps Space Support Element at Camp Zama, Japan; 7th Infantry Division’s Space Cell at Camp Kenjun, Japan; and 11th Airborne Division’s Space Cell at Camp Chitose, Japan. SMDC G37 exercise planners served as space/intelligence subject matter experts providing dynamic master scenario event list scripting in support of exercise control.
“The ARSST provides space integration of planning, assessments, and dynamic support to ensure the joint task force's access to the space domain while preventing the enemy use of the space domain,” said Capt. James P. Sambor, space operations officer and ARSST 51 team leader. “Army space professionals have an important role in the future of multidomain operations to dismantle adversary anti-access area denial capabilities.”
Since its inception in 1982, Yama Sakura has focused on the development and refinement of Japanese forces and U.S. Army bilateral planning, coordination and interoperability efforts.
ARSSTs bring an increased level of space subject matter expertise and provide a situational understanding beyond what the organic staff can provide. Exposing the supported staff to ARSST capabilities, developing rapport, and streamlining tactics, techniques and procedures enhances the training of not only 1st Space Brigade forces, but the supported unit as well.
“The team's performance was excellent during the exercise, and I am extremely proud of all they accomplished,” Sambor said. “I am most proud of how well they integrated with the I Corps staff and accomplished the mission with minimal guidance when leadership was pulled away for other meetings and working groups. They not only excelled at their assigned duties but took the initiative to cross train themselves and by the end of the mission I felt confident in any member of the team filling in to represent the J31 space team during battle rhythm events.”
Exercises like Yama Sakura often serve as capstone training events for Army Space Support Teams following their extensive schoolhouse learning and in-house validation process. Forward deploying, integrating with supported commands, and providing space effects in fast-paced, dynamic environments like those created in exercises like Yama Sakura provide the team realistic training to better prepare them for their wartime mission.
“The team is extremely thankful for the opportunity to learn from and support I Corps during Yama Sakura 83,” Sambor said. “The experience we all gained from the exercise and mentorship provided from the I Corps J31 Space Team was invaluable.”