In today’s complex and dynamic threat environment, military leaders must effectively employ limited resources to execute their country’s national security strategy. Proceedings asked sea-service commanders around the world: It is often said that a nation’s national defense decisions are ultimately derived from its own sovereign interests. Given this presumption, what are the global trends that most influence your national security decision making and how does your navy use its operating policies, alliances, and partnerships to address these trends?
Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano
As interdependence among states expands and deepens there is a growing risk that unrest or a security problem in a single country or region could immediately spread throughout the international community.
Although the Asia-Pacific region is witnessing a rise in opportunities for practical and effective security cooperation among countries, apparent threats still exist, particularily in the form of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The region also has become more prone to so-called “gray-zone” situations, which are neither pure peacetime contingencies nor disputes over territorial sovereignty and interests. There is a risk that these situations could further develop into grave ones. As a result, the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly tense. Therefore, in addition to Japan’s own efforts it is increasingly necessary for countries to actively collaborate with each other for regional and global stability.
Based on the situation noted here and on the policy of “Proactively Contributing to Peace” founded on the principle of international cooperation, Japan will contribute more actively to ensure peace, stability, and prosperity in the world while pursuing its own security as well as that of the Asia-Pacific region. Under this basic principle, Japan will strengthen the Japan–U.S. alliance, actively promote security cooperation with other countries, and build a dynamic joint defense force to fully exercise their capabilities by placing emphasis on achieving readiness, mobility, flexibility, sustainability, robustness, and connectivity. In terms of strengthening the Japan–U.S. Alliance, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) will pursue further interoperability with the U.S. Navy through various exercises and cooperation. For the sake of promoting security cooperation with other countries, the JMSDF will actively participate in multilateral exercises and promote security cooperation with countries in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, capacity building, counter-piracy operation, etc.
Last year, the JMSDF deployed Aegis destroyers and other assets to maintain readiness against North Korea’s ballistic-missile launch while maintaining constant intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in the vicinity of Japan to prevent unexpected contingencies. The JMSDF also deployed three ships for disaster-relief operations following the Philippine typhoon last November. In the area of counter-piracy, the JMSDF deployed a destroyer to Combined Task Force 151 in December to strengthen cooperation. These are clear examples of the JMSDF’s operations conducted or started last year.
The JMSDF will continue to embody “Proactive Contribution to Peace” by constructing a defense force capable of effectively responding to various situations.