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Building bonds with BDOWG

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Savannah Waters, Senior Airman Cesar J. Navarro
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs

Building bonds with BDOWG

 U.S. Air Force Airmen, Marines, and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) service members came together to sharpen their skills by conducting a Bilateral Defense of Okinawa Working Group (BDOWG) at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 1-4, 2022.

The working group allows all the services to discuss ways to increase bilateral training efforts, operational integration, overall defense, safety and regional partnership.

During the event, BDOWG participants studied changes in regional stability and threat level escalations. For the first time, participants focused on and discussed Agile Combat Employment (ACE).

“With this being the first BDOWG since 2019, it was very important to reopen the communication channels and network with our counterparts,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Timothy Wiseman, 18th Wing ACE operations superintendent. “The time invested in getting to know them personally is the foundation for how we connect and develop professionally.”

Conducting this BDOWG event brought unique perspectives from both JSDF and the Marines that increased the interoperability and shared communication between all the parties involved. These BDOWG aspects not only bolster the defense of Okinawa, but allows all members to get on the same page, enhancing the allies’ cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region.

“We can enhance interoperability and the effectiveness of our responses by continuing to build confidence between the U.S. and Japan,” said Lt. Col. Ikuo Doi, Air Defense Command defense plans and programs staff. “I felt the face-to-face interactions helped effectively break down language barriers that were had with prior teleconferences. We should actively participate in these face-to-face events in the future.”

Wiseman said this year's BDOWG focused on Integrated Air and Missile Defense and ACE tactics over three days of complex discussion, demonstrations and research.

“We learned about the USAF ACE operations and the differences between the USAF and JSDF,” said Col. Seiji Manabe, Southwestern Air Defense Force plans and programs chief. “I also was able to understand the challenges that the USAF has had to overcome in order to implement this asset dispersion in an island environment.”

The teams came together to refine strategies and aid in the expansion of future training opportunities and take back to their units new methods of bilateral integration.

“Prepositioning is crucial. Relationship building with regional governance is crucial. Building relationships with each airfield manager at all of the spokes is crucial,” said Maj. Thomas O'Brien, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing G4 Aviation Ground Support Department officer in charge. “We must continuously send contact teams out to these locations and incrementally increase our exposure. The U.S. and JSDF have to do this in tandem, and we need each other to survive, fight and win.”