In this file photo, USS Mustin (DDG 89) leads U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships in formation during MultiSail 2017. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Elijah G. Leinaar)

APRA HARBOR, Guam - Units and personnel from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) are scheduled to participate in MultiSail 2018, March 8-14.

MultiSail is an annual bilateral training exercise that improves interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces.

In 2018 the focus of the exercise will be on improving fundamental skills such as tracking and defeating submarines, combating other surface forces, live fire training, and interoperability with U.S. and JMSDF units.

"MultiSail is an opportunity for our ships to increase our combat proficiency at sea," said Capt. Jon Duffy, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15. "We have designed MultiSail to exercise how we detect, locate, track and engage simulated units at sea, in the air, on land, and underwater with our Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force allies to help us increase our interoperability in a range of mission areas."

Participants include USS Antietam (CG 54), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Mustin (DDG 89), JS Fuyuzuki (DD-118), and a number of subsurface and other special units.

"MultiSail 2018 provide us a valuable opportunity to increase JMSDF tactical capabilities and to strengthen our interoperability with our U.S. Navy allies," said Cmdr. Kazuteru Hirano, JS Fuyuzuki's commanding officer. "The Japan-U.S. alliance is stronger than it has ever been, and it is growing stronger."

The participating forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of our combined forces. These capabilities range from maritime security operations to more complex anti-submarine and air defense exercises.

The lessons learned from exercises like MultiSail 2018 will assist the U.S. Navy and JMSDF to develop regional capabilities that provide a full range of options in defense of their interests and those of their allies and partners around the world.

MultiSail uses realistic, shared training scenarios to enhance the ability of the U.S, Navy and JMSDF to work together to confront any contingency. MultiSail prepares forces that will provide the deterrence and stabilizing effects of a force-in-being, ready at the outset of a contingency without delays for buildups or extensive mission rehearsal.