Japan’s Defense Buildup and the US-Japan Alliance: Toward a More Effective Deterrence

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Growing uncertainty in the security environment in East Asia makes it critical that Japan double down on its effort in developing its defense capability to buttress the US-Japan alliance and enhance deterrence.  LGEN Koichiro Bansho (ret., JGSDF), who played an essential role as the Commanding General of JGSDF Western Army as JGSDF started its effort to rebalance its force posture, will share his thoughts on Japan’s defense strategy and his perspective on the recent efforts in the defense buildup, followed by comments by Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken, President and CEO of the Center for Strategic Budgetary Assessment.
WHAT: A talk on enhancing deterrence in East Asia through Japan’s defense buildup and the US-Japan alliance

Lieutenant General Koichiro Bansho, retired, Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces
LGEN Koichiro Bansho retired from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) in August 2015 after thirty-five years of military service. He started his career as an infantry officer in 1980, and in 1989 he was assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a military staff. In 1993 he was assigned to the Ground Staff Office (GSO), where he held the positions of Chief of the Policy and Programs section and the Public Affairs Office, and Director of the Policy and Programs Department (G5). Additionally, he graduated from the U.S. Army War College with a Masters of Strategic Studies in 2000 and commanded the first Japanese Contingent to Iraq deployed in al-Samawah in 2004. When Japan suffered the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, he was called up as the Chief of Japan-U.S. Bilateral Coordination Center for the first ever Japan-US bilateral disaster relief operation known as “Operation Tomodachi.” He was assigned as the Commanding General, 3rd Division in 2011, the Vice Chief of Staff, JGSDF in 2012, and took command of the Western Army responsible for the defense of South-western region of Japan from 2013 to 2015. After retiring from JGSDF, he assumed the position of adviser to the Marubeni Corporation on Dec. 2015 and was assigned as the advisor of the National Security Secretariat, Cabinet Secretariat in September 2016.
Thomas G. Mahnken, President and CEO of the Center for Strategic Budgetary Assessment
Thomas G. Mahnken is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He also is a Senior Research Professor at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and has served for over 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, including tours in Iraq and Kosovo. His government career includes service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning from 2006–2009, where he helped craft the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and 2008 National Defense Strategy. He served on the staff of the 2014 National Defense Panel, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, and the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He served in the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment and as a member of the Gulf War Air Power Survey. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He is the author of numerous books, including “Strategy in Asia: The Past, Present and Future of Regional Security” (2014). He received his M.A. and Ph.D in international affairs from SAIS, and was a National Security Fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies.

Image courtesy of U.S. Naval War College via Flickr
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