Capt. Adam Aycock, commanding officer of USS Shiloh (CG 67), explains the ship's ballistic missile defense capabilities during the exercise. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Sara B. Sexton)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Commander, Task Force 70 along with Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, Army and Air Force assets and units from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) participated in Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint (FST-J) exercise 16-71 at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), Japan and other command centers throughout Japan, Feb. 22-26.

FST-J is a computer-based synthetic training so that geographically separated units can integrate in a tactically and operationally demanding virtual environment.

"FST-J is designed to test our tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) against possible threats and ensure Japanese and U.S. forces are well versed and experienced in executing those TTPs," said Capt. Adam M. Aycock, commanding officer of USS Shiloh (CG 67) and Ballistic Missile Defense Commander (BMD) for Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70. "The collaboration required to plan and execute an event like FST-J strengthens relationships and helps break down barriers, while the execution ... makes the interoperability between the U.S.-Japanese team more effective, efficient and lethal."

FST-J 16-71 is specifically focused on BMD training for the forward-deployed ships to 7th Fleet and JMSDF ships. Both U.S. Navy and JMSDF BMD capable ships, along with the two TPY-2 radar in Japan, provide a robust missile defense capability for the U.S. and our allies.

"FST-J 16-71 allows us to maximize our offensive and defensive capabilities to protect BMD ships conducting their important mission," said Capt. Christopher Sweeney, Commander Task Group 70.15 responsible for Commander 7th Fleet (C7F) surface operations. "It is crucial to ensure our ships practice complex situations to be fully prepared to execute a variety of mission sets, FST-J allows us to accomplish this diverse training."

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), forward deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, moored in Sasebo, Japan, to coordinate synthetic ballistic missile defense (BMD) training with JMSDF Kong-class destroyer Japan Ship (JS) Myoko (DDG 175) as part of the FST-J 16-71 exercise.

The ship's warfighting teams have exchanged operational integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), surface warfare, and anti-submarine warfare information for advanced tactical training. This training is designed to improve proficiency in warfighting and joint operations for ballistic missile defense.

"FST-J 16-71 is a unique opportunity to sharpen our tactical expertise and reinforce cooperation with our JMSDF allies," said Cmdr. Amy Graham, commanding officer of USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54). "Just as important, exercises like these continue to build close personal and professional ties that strengthen our bilateral relationships, making us even more effective as we maintain maritime security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."

The successful defense of the U.S. and our allies from unanticipated ballistic missile threats requires detailed planning, precision ship stationing and quick defensive reactions. In turn, the BMD mission is one of many missions that the U.S. and allies practice on a regular basis to maintain maximum proficiency and cooperation.