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613th AOC provides command and control for Yama Sakura 67

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Air Force and Army members from the 613th Air Operations Center collaborated with the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) here Dec. 8–13, during exercise Yama Sakura 67 (YS67), the largest U.S. Army annual bilateral exercise in Asia-Pacific region.

Yama Sakura's primary focus is on the development and refinement of bilateral planning, coordination and interoperability between the U.S. and Japan militaries.

The Airmen and Soldiers from the 613th AOC played a vital role by providing command and control expertise and air operations planning.

"The 613th AOC provided two primary capabilities to YS67 to include forward deployed command and control experts for the planning and execution of air operations, as well as hosting Japanese officers from their air defense command to share U.S. perspectives on air and missile defense capabilities and how we conduct joint command and control of U.S. air defense assets," explained U.S. Air Force Col. David Moeller, the 613th AOC commander.

With YS67 scenarios centered on the defense of Japan, a priority for the 613th AOC Combat Plans Division was to ensure the integration of command and control and integrated air and missile defense.

"One of the components of YS67 is defending Japanese territory, population and U.S. interests in the region from air and missile attack," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joseph Munger, the plans officer for the 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, 613th AOC. "YS67 provides a good venue for the JASDF and Pacific Air Forces to further their planning efforts to develop bilateral plans in defense of these types of attacks.

"I've participated in three iterations of Yama Sakura, and the thing that impresses me the most is how the complexity continues to grow and how we improve our coordination each year," Munger added.

In addition to a focus on command and control and integrated air and missile defense, 613th AOC Combat Plans Division focused their attention on coordinating with the U.S. Army and JASDF to create planning documents to prioritize targets, intelligence and air-refueling capabilities, as well as to provide overall airspace management planning.

"The overarching 613th AOC mission is command and control of air power for Pacific Command's area of responsibility," Moeller added. "We are the senior control node for the Joint Force Air Component commander and the Area Air Defense commander, two authorities the PACOM commander has delegated to the PACAF commander; for scenarios like the ones exercised in YS67, we can provide a command and control reach-back capability in case anything bad happened in Japan."

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