Japanese leadership express interest in enhancing strategic partnership with U.S. forces in Horn of Africa

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kenneth Kim, commander of the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, Mattydale, New York, greets Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Col. Masatoshi Tanso during a key leadership engagement at Japan Self-Defense Force Base, Djibouti, Nov. 21, 2018. Japanese and U.S. leadership met to discuss ways to build relationships across the Combined Joint Operations Area. (U.S. Army Photo by Capt. Olivia Cobiskey) Japanese leadership express interest in enhancing strategic partnership with U.S. forces in Horn of Africa U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kenneth Kim, commander of the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, Mattydale, New York, greets Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Col. Masatoshi Tanso during a key leadership engagement at Japan Self-Defense Force Base, Djibouti, Nov. 21, 2018. Japanese and U.S. leadership met to discuss ways to build relationships across the Combined Joint Operations Area. (U.S. Army Photo by Capt. Olivia Cobiskey)

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Japanese and U.S. leadership met in Djibouti to discuss ways to build relationships across the Combined Joint Operations Area Nov. 20-21. 

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force has been increasing its capacity building operations in East Africa in an effort to help enhance development of security and regional stability with African partners and the U.S. 

“One country can’t do it all,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jerry M. Cline, Command Surgeon for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). “Our Air Quality Control Cooperation initiative is a great example – The Government of Japan provided 40 garbage trucks, the Italians shared lessons with the Djiboutian Gendarmerie on how to better enforce Djiboutian environmental laws, the European Union provided $12 million to improve the La Duda Dump, and the U.S. provided an incinerator.” 

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Col. Akira Miyazaki, director of International Security Cooperation and Policy Division and Programs Department, agreed and was interested in learning how his division could leverage CJTF-HOA’s experience in building strategic partnership through subject matter expert exchanges in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations. 

“Japan cannot conduct war-centric training,” Miyazaki told U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas S. Wall, Chief of Staff CJTF-HOA, during his visit to the headquarters. “This is the final period of the three-year-plan to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations to the Djibouti Armed Forces. I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of how the U.S. provides emergency and humanitarian assistance to improve the activities we provide to the Djibouti Armed Forces.” 

In a fiscal 2017 supplementary budget, the Japanese government earmarked about 4.5 billion yen ($40.6 million) to expand capacity building operations and hopes to use the support provided by the JGSDF to strengthen its ties with African and Southeast Asian nations.

While Japanese and U.S. leadership expressed the possibility of future collaboration, the partnership has already proven to be a successful one – in the decrease of piracy in Northeast Africa, added Miyazaki. 

Since 2011, the first year a Japanese Self-Defense Force contingent of 180 troops occupied a 30-acre site in Djibouti, next to Camp Lemonnier, there were nearly 237 incidents involving suspected pirates; however, thanks to an international response, the figure decreased to nine cases in 2017. 

While senior leaders met at Camp Lemonnier, staff from CJTF-HOA’s 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion and the Japanese Capacity Building Commander conducted a key leader engagement at Japan Self-Defense Force Base. 

“Japan is changing its focus from peacekeeping operations to more capacity building,” said Lt. Col. Masatoshi Tanso, Enforcement Support of Disaster Response Capabilities Delegation Leader. “We have been training the Djibouti Army Forces how to operate engineering machinery since January 2017 in support of enhancement of Disaster Response Capabilities and Humanitarian Support and Disaster Relief based on the agreement between the Defense Ministry of Djibouti and Japan.” 

While the training has been successful, Tanso asked for insight on how the civil affairs professionals conduct subject matter expert exchanges to help his engineers develop their next phase of training. During the conversation, the teams realized they face many of the same challenges from language barriers to funding for projects. 

However, Maj. Shinsuke Takada, the foreign liaison officer with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force at CJTF-HOA, reiterated that by working together each partner can achieve their collective objects. 

Heads nodded around the room in agreement. 

“The CJTF-HOA mission is to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and forge partnerships between participating nations,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Kim, commander of the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, an Army Reserve unit from Mattydale, New York. “The ability to work together in a dynamic environment directly strengthens security throughout East Africa.”

Tags

We suggest

443rd CA BN hosts Army Field Sanitation Training certification course

Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), potentially just became a slightly healthier place with 35 service members from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force completing the U.S. Army’s 40-hour Field Sanitation Training (FST) certification course July 10, 2020. The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion (CA BN) led the training, which saw the students learn about a range of topics including food service and water supply sanitation, pest control, and heat injuries. At the end of the week, the students were also required to take a test to earn their certification, which all 35 passed.

CJTF-HOA supports Djibouti’s fight against COVID-19

Members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), delivered approximately $9,400 worth of hospital beds to the Djibouti Ministry of Health during a ceremony at the Bouffard Hospital in Djibouti City, Djibouti, June 25. At the request of the Djiboutian government and the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, CJTF-HOA was able to purchase the supplies through Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid Appropriation (OHDACA) funds to assist the country during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

KDF's first female Foreign Liaison Officer strengthens U.S., Kenya partnership

With mission sets that cover 12 different countries throughout East Africa, the ability to work with various units and nations is key to the success of an organization like the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). To keep CJTF-HOA running like a well-oiled machine, several partner nations have lent a member of their military to serve as a foreign liaison officer (FLO) and to work directly with CTJF-HOA personnel on Camp Lemonnier. These personnel improve communication between the command and foreign militaries and strengthen the partnership between our African and other allied partners.

CJTF-HOA holds change of command ceremony

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael D. Turello, the outgoing Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) commanding general, transferred responsibility to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Lapthe C. Flora during a change of command ceremony at Camp Lemonnier (CLDJ), Djibouti, June 8. U.S. Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), presided over the ceremony.

Manda Bay, BMA name facilities for fallen service member

Two contingency locations within Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa’s combined joint operations area recently named facilities in honor of U.S. Army Spc. Henry J. “Mitch” Mayfield Jr., who was killed in action Jan. 5, 2020, during an attack on Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya, by a terrorist organization. On May 1, Baledogle Military Airfield, Somalia (BMA), held a grand opening ceremony for the Henry Mayfield Jr. Dining Facility. On May 21, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility at Manda Bay was officially renamed as the Henry J. Mayfield Jr. Recreation Center.