View Full Version : Okinawa commander reluctant to cut troops

12-26-03, 08:02 PM
Okinawa commander reluctant to cut troops

NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) The top commander of the U.S. forces in Okinawa is reluctant about drastically reducing troops in the prefecture, saying it is in a "unique strategic location" among the U.S. military's deployment locations around the world.

Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Blackman, the Okinawa area coordinator, said in an interview with Kyodo News that the U.S. military in Japan, particularly the forces in Okinawa, can play an important role in the Western Pacific.

He said the number of soldiers alone will not lead to securing stability in the region.

"Deterrence is more than numbers," he said, listing capability, ability to move quickly, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as other key factors.

Blackman refrained from commenting on ongoing negotiations between Japan and the U.S. on realigning the U.S. troops based in Okinawa.

He stressed the need to conduct training in Okinawa to prepare for possible attacks by North Korea, noting there is a "requirement from the strategic perspective in terms of deterrence" of training the U.S. Marine Corps on the ground, at sea and in the air.

Blackman rejected calls for relocating the marine helicopter base now at the Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, which is to be returned to Japan, to somewhere outside Okinawa.

"Relocating these helicopters any distance from the infantry and logistics would seriously reduce our capabilities," he said.

Japan decided in late 1999 to relocate the helicopter base to a military-civilian airport to be built off Nago, Okinawa.

The Japan Times: Dec. 25, 2003
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Doc Crow
12-26-03, 10:21 PM
IF something happens in North Korea cutting troops would be another Pusan Perimeter again if they can even hold that. Okinawa allows for rapid reinforcement of that area of the Pacific