Japanese Self Defense Force looks to Air University for enhanced model of enlisted development

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Greydon Furstenau
  • Air University Public Affairs

The Air University hosted the Japanese senior enlisted advisor to the Japan Joint Staff chairman Oct. 18-19, 2022, to showcase the development cycle of an enlisted Airman. 

The centers, schools, staff and Airmen that power Air University fully embrace the consequential significance of the nation’s partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region, and how vital it is to share a common vision of the future.

Warrant Officer Hideyuki Seki is the most senior ranking enlisted member in the Japan Self-Defense Force, and this visit marks the first time a JSDF senior enlisted member has been to AU.

Seki’s primary objective for the visit was to identify methods his country could possibly incorporate across their defense force to enhance the development of its own enlisted force.

At AU, Seki learned how a U.S. civilian is transformed into a professional and empowered Airman, and how this transformation continues throughout the Airman’s career.

 “I was really impressed by the professional military education at AU.,” he said. “I hope that the U.S.-Japan Alliance and both noncommissioned officer corps will be developed much more in the future.”

“We have a strong enlisted corps, and we build upon the foundations set at basic military training and place them on a continuum of growth and enhancement through our world-class professional military education,” said Chief Master Sgt. Stefan Blazier, Air University command chief. "The desired outcome for all tiers of our enlisted force is to have the appropriate knowledge and understanding of our objectives as a nation, Department of Defense, and Air Force and for them to know how they plug into those objectives.”

Chief Master Sgt. Wendell Snider, the U.S. Forces Japan senior enlisted leader, escorted Seki on his visit to AU. 

As highlighted around the globe, one of the most strategic advantages of the U.S. miliary is its well-trained, educated, and empowered enlisted corps, especially at the NCO and senior NCO levels.  Our National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy states that we will reaffirm our iron-clad commitments and integration with Japan and take decisive steps to help them continue to prepare and defend themselves. 

“WO Seki’s visit to Air University is yet another shining example of the ironclad U.S.-Japan Alliance,” Snider said. “An alliance that will continue to deepen through sharing of information and lessons learned about joint and international enlisted development.”

Seki’s itinerary included the Air Force’s core institutions of enlisted education and heritage: Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted EducationCommunity College of the Air ForceEnlisted Heritage Hall, and Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

 “WO Seki’s visit provided us both the opportunity to lay the foundations to achieve both of our nation’s strategic objectives,” said Chief Master Sgt. Caleb Vaden, senior enlisted leader of AU’s International Affairs and project officer for the visit. “I propose that we continue sharing how we develop and empower our enlisted force in the decision-making process and leadership echelons to execute commander’s intent in a command-and-control degraded environment.”

Seki also met with international enlisted instructors at SNCO Academy. The meeting opened a conversation with the possibility of more Japanese enlisted members coming to AU to expand their professional warfighting capabilities and leadership acumen, as well as share their perspectives with other enlisted members and international allies. Seki shared that he is looking to continue sending JASDF members to the SNCO Academy, as well as pursuing potential JSDF member participation in the First Sergeant Academy and Chief Leadership Academy, which would be a first. 

Additionally, Vaden and Seki had the opportunity to discuss the importance of integrated defense.

“I shared with WO Seki that as we deliberately seek to learn together, we inevitably become stronger and move toward being integrated by design versus by happenstance,” said Vaden. “To uphold peace and stability, we must have key partners and allies like him, and I believe that we have limitless potential as we move forward together enhancing our enlisted development and interoperability.”

Seki agreed with Vaden’s invitation.

“This development process and international instructor system is excellent,” he said. “I hope that a Self-Defense member can come here to become an international instructor in the future to further our commitment with you.”