In this file photo, ships of the the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group steam in formation with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships during Annual Exercise in November 2015. (U.S. Navy/PO3 Nathan Burke)

PHILIPPINE SEA - The Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), began participation in exercise Keen Sword 2017 (KS17) Oct. 30.

KS17 is a joint, bilateral field training exercise involving the U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and is designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

“We look forward to another opportunity to work alongside our host-nation counterparts in the JSDF,” said Capt. Buzz Donnelly, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer. “Working together on the kind of scenarios we will encounter during the next couple of weeks will strengthen our mutual commitment to a full range of military capabilities, as our nations face common concerns and common threats to peace and stability in the region.”

KS17 is is the latest in a series of field training exercises since 1986 involving U.S. military and JSDF personnel. The exercise will be directed by the commander of U.S. Forces Japan and the Chief of Staff of the Japan Joint Staff.

Approximately 11,000 U.S. personnel will participate in KS17, including those assigned to U.S. Forces Japan Headquarters, 5th Air Force, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, U.S. Army Japan, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Amphibious Force 7th Fleet. The forces will conduct training with their JSDF counterparts at military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa and in the waters surrounding Japan.

Additionally, U.S. and JSDF forces will conduct bilateral amphibious operations, coordinating movement of personnel from ship to shore via helicopter and small boats on and around Guam and Tinian for the first time since the inception of this exercise.

Ronald Reagan, the Carrier Strike Group Five flagship, is on patrol supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.