JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.72


The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation

Rising Thunder - FY2015 Field Training Exercise with the U.S. Army - Group photograph of the 8 Fellows from the 20th class of the Mike Mansfield Fellowship Program hosted by the MOD

The Mike Mansfield Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for U.S. federal government employees to undertake placements in the Government of Japan (GOJ) and other organizations for a period of about one year under an agreement between the two governments. Named after former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield, who was known as a Japanophile, the program aims at providing U.S. federal government employees with an in-depth knowledge of GOJ in order to further strengthen Japan-U.S. relations.

The MOD has hosted Fellows since 1996. FY2015 marks its 20th year, and we received eight Fellows, the largest total so far. As a host-ministry, the MOD welcomes Fellows at a wide-range of sub-organizations, such as the Internal Bureau, respective Staff Offices, SDF units, the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency, and other related organizations, based on their professional background and needs. For example, a Fellow from the U.S. Marine Corps who desires to work as a liaison officer with the GSDF in the future took part in three months of placements at the Ground Staff Office, where he received various briefings on the current situation and future structure of the GSDF, such as the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. The Fellow also took part in YS-69, the largest Japan-U.S. joint command post exercise, where he learned about interoperability between the GSDF and the U.S. Army. Also, he participated in Multilateral Logistics Staff Talks (MLST) as an organizer with other GSDF staff members and played an important role as a liaison officer for the participants from other countries.

Fellows are assigned a seat at MOD/SDF offices together with Japanese colleagues where they carry out professional assignments and engage in active discussions with various professionals, including SDF personnel, policymakers, and engineers. Fellows have commented that these are valuable opportunities to be involved in the alliance management in the future. Furthermore, Fellows provide their own views based on the wealth of experience in the U.S. Government, which affords people at the placement organization many opportunities to learn as well. This makes the program extremely meaningful for both Japanese and U.S. sides. We expect the Mike Mansfield Fellowship Program contributes to further deepen the Japan-U.S. Alliance by increasing the number of U.S. Government officials with in-depth knowledge of the MOD/SDF. Therefore, we would like to continue to provide Fellows with beneficial professional development opportunities in the future.

Rising Thunder - FY2015 Field Training Exercise with the U.S. Army - GSDF Personnel and Mansfield Fellow taking part in Multilateral Logistics Staff Talks (MLST) (November 26, 2015)
Rising Thunder - FY2015 Field Training Exercise with the U.S. Army -
Mansfield Fellow receiving a briefing at
Air Staff Office (December 21, 2015)
Rising Thunder - FY2015 Field Training Exercise with the U.S. Army -
An exchange of ideas between a Mansfield Fellow
and ASDF Personnel of Air Communications and
Systems Wing (September 25, 2015)
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