GSDF: Can it stay relevant in an increasingly hostile budgetary climate?

GSDF: Can it stay relevant in an increasingly hostile budgetary climate?

Philippe de Koning considers the future of the SDF over at The Diplomat:

It’s unquestionable that as this tragic situation continues to unfold in Japan, one of the few bright spots has been the dramatic improvement in Japanese perceptions of the SDF. Unfortunately, these recent developments may also be overshadowing the struggles that have been taking place within the largest branch of Japan’s military over the past several years.

De Koning sees the Tohoku Earthquake as a blip in the struggle to maintain the relevance of the GSDF as asymmetry and downsizing runs rife. The GSDF is pushing to maintain its dominance among the SDF uniformed officials:

Will the GSDF pushback effort work? Given the number of troops and the political support the force enjoys due to its bases, it’s likely it will enjoy moderate success if it follows such a path. Still, policymakers also have the option of being more proactive and demanding the reallocation of resources to match stated defence policy. This could entail reducing GSDF personnel, closing bases in Hokkaido that have waning in value for national security purposes and expanding those of the MSDF, which will likely be necessary as its submarine fleet grows from 16 to 22 vessels over the next few years. Such a shift also wouldn’t necessarily do any harm to SDF efforts to engage in disaster relief – the ASDF and MSDF together provided 36,000 of the 106,000 troops involved in relief efforts.

Read the full article over at the Diplomat.

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch