US Marine Corps and Japanese army improve cooperation with exercise Resolute Dragon 23

The U.S. Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) participated in a field training exercise on October 27, 2023, as part of Resolute Dragon 23. The exercise took place in the JGSDF's Yausubetsu Maneuver Area in Hokkaido, Japan. This annual bilateral exercise aims to improve command, control, and multi-domain maneuver capabilities between the two allied forces.
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US Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force service members utilize M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System launchers during the field training exercise Resolute Dragon 23 (Picture source: US DoD)

With growing tensions in the Pacific region, a new exercise between Japanese and American forces is far from trivial, given their significant presence in the area. The exercise aims to enhance command, control, and maneuver capabilities between Japan and the United States. In short, the exercise seeks to improve interoperability between the two armies.

During the exercise, both U.S. and Japanese forces utilized High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). The focus was on improving interoperability and combat readiness, thereby strengthening the robust military relationship between the two nations.

The exercise comes at a time when the 12th Marine Regiment is set to be officially redesignated as the 12th Marine Littoral Regiment on November 15. This move is part of the U.S. Marine Corps' effort to develop a more mobile and agile force, capable of rapid deployment to remote islands under enemy fire. The 12th Marine Regiment is currently participating in the joint Japan-U.S. exercise Resolute Dragon, which runs from October 14 to October 31.

The exercise is particularly noteworthy given recent activities in the region. A Chinese aircraft carrier crossed the Bashi Strait and entered the Western Pacific, coinciding with the Resolute Dragon exercise. The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has also been conducting military exercises around Taiwan, raising concerns about the stability of the region.

Resolute Dragon 23 serves as an important milestone in U.S.-Japan military cooperation, especially in the context of increasing regional tensions. The exercise not only strengthens the military capabilities of both nations but also sends a strong message of unity and deterrence in the face of evolving security challenges.