Commander US 7th Fleet and CNFJ speak to National Institute for Defense Studies students

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Dec. 17, 2019) Vice Adm. William Merz, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, speaks to students attending a joint advanced course at Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies about the role 7th Fleet plays in the U.S. and Japan alliance. The students visited Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka to learn about their roles as future commanders in the Japan Self Defense Force. ( (Photo by Chief Petty Mass Communication Specialist Matthew Bradley)
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Dec. 17, 2019) Vice Adm. William Merz, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, speaks to students attending a joint advanced course at Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies about the role 7th Fleet plays in the U.S. and Japan alliance. The students visited Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka to learn about their roles as future commanders in the Japan Self Defense Force. ( (Photo by Chief Petty Mass Communication Specialist Matthew Bradley)

Commander US 7th Fleet and CNFJ speak to National Institute for Defense Studies students

Chief Mass Communication Specialist Matthew Bradley, Commander, Naval Forces Japan Public Affairs Office

YOKOSUKA, Japan—Students at the National Institute for Defense Studies visited Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka to learn about the U.S. Navy’s purpose and role in the region December 17.

Vice Adm. William Merz Commander 7th Fleet and Rear Adm. Brian Fort Commander Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) and Commander Naval Region Japan (CNRJ) spoke to the 50 senior officers from the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) about the importance of the alliance.

Merz spoke about the importance of alliances in the Indo-Pacific Theater. He said that no one nation can hope to secure peace and prosperity in the region without working with their allies. The close alliance between the United States, Japan and other partner nations is the key to maintaining free and open waterways.

“The real strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance happens right here, right here in this auditorium.
Treaties are signed and alliances are formed at the highest levels of our respective governments, but the strength of any treaty, the strength of any alliance is right here in the friendship and fellowship of everyone in this room. Thank you all for your service,” Fort said.

The students are part of the Joint Advanced Course offered to O5 and O6 JSDF officers prior to their enrollment in the National Institute for Defense Studies Special Course. The course teaches the importance of understanding how each service operates jointly and how the work with their counterparts in the U.S. military.

Fort emphasized the importance of working closely with Japan and building relationships not only with the JSDF but the local community as well.

“In my role as the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, I work closely with not only the Kaijo Jietai, (Japan Maritime Self Defense Force) but also a variety of other military and civilian leaders across Japan. Our relationships with local governments and communities are extremely important,” Fort said.

The Joint Advanced Course is offered twice a year by the National Institute for Defense Studies and is designed to prepare them for their future roles as commanders in the JSDF.

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