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"Sudden Squall" by R.G. Smith
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Conference in Japan, 1-7 December 1997

At the invitation of the National Institute for Defense Studies of Tokyo, Japan, Dr. Edward J. Marolda, Senior Historian of the Naval Historical Center, recently delivered a series of lectures on modern naval and military history topics. During the 1-7 December 1997 visit, he spoke to an audience that included General Tsujikawa, Head of the institute's Military History Branch, Dr. Hisashi Takahashi, a distinguised scholar of 20th century military history, officers and civilian researchers of the institute, and visitors from the Japanese ground, air, and naval staff colleges.

In his first paper, entitled "Brotherhood of Arms: American Joint Operations during the Vietnam War," Dr. Marolda discussed how the U.S. military services cooperated, or on occasion failed to cooperate, in bombing, coastal patrol, amphibious, naval bombardment, river warfare, and logistic operations in Southeast Asia. He concluded that despite some differences in doctrine, command and control procedures, and tactical approaches, the American armed forces operated remarkably well in the combat environment of Vietnam. At the operational level, American sailors, soldiers, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen pulled together.

His second lecture, "A Fleet of Many Flags: Coalition Naval Operations in the Persian Gulf War," emphasized the importance of multinational naval cooperation to the UN coalition's success in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Also discussed was the employment of U.S. and Japanese naval vessels in the postwar removal of mines from the waters of the gulf. In his paper, Dr. Marolda argued that without the multinational naval forces, it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, for the coalition to isolate Iraq from external support, deter regimes sympathetic to Saddam, protect allied sea lines of communication, win the surface and air war in the Persian Gulf, and ensure the swift defeat of Iraq's forces ashore in Kuwait and Iraq. Coalition naval operations achieved great success, and a primary reason for that success was the functioning of the multinational navies as a team. Because of integrated training, the adoption of common weapons and equipment, and professional interaction during the post-World War II era, the U.S. and non-U.S. navies of the coalition were able to act together with a minimum of difficulty. In short, cooperation, accommodation, and pragmatism characterized coalition naval operations.

In his third lecture, entitled "The Offshore Deterrent: Sea Power and the Cold War in Asia," Dr. Marolda observed that even though there existed no military alliance comparable to NATO in the Far East during the Cold War, bilateral and multilateral security arrangements concluded by the United States and key nations of the region were successful in preserving their independence. The key element of this security structure was sea power. The sea power of the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Australia, and the republics of Korea and China (Taiwan), through deterrence and through battle, helped protect the maritime nations of the Far East from Communist military power and political pressure. With this security, the non-Communist nations of the Western Pacific were able to develop economically and politically even as the mainland Communist countries suffered the ill effects of huge military budgets, almost constant warfare, and disastrous economic and social policies.

Dr. Marolda considered the lecture program at the National Institute for Defense Studies an invaluable experience. He was able to increase awareness of the Naval Historical Center and the U.S. Navy's modern operations while gaining insight on Japan's Self Defense Forces' key role in the political-military affairs of the Western Pacific. Above all, the visit helped strengthen the important and longstanding U.S.-Japan relationship.

The Center's Senior Historian was overwhelmed by the gracious hospitality and friendliness of his Japanese hosts. General Tsujikawa hosted a dinner for the American guest and Dr. Takahashi and his colleagues at the National Institute for Defense Studies arranged a one-day tour of 15th century castles and shrines in Nagano Prefecture. In short, the Japanese military historians ensured that Dr. Marolda's visit to Japan was a truly informative and enjoyable experience.

12 June 2001