Kadena Air Base

The 18th Wing is host at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan. It is the largest U.S. military installation in the Asia-Pacific region and the largest wing in the Air Force. The 18th Wing maintains combat readiness to support the air operations taskings as directed by the commander, U.S. Pacific Command, throughout the Pacific Air Forces and 5th Air Force.

The 18th Wing’s mission is to defend U.S. and Japan’s mutual interests by providing a responsive staging and operational air base with integrated, deployable, forward-based airpower. 

The wing is composed of five groups: operations, maintenance, mission support, civil engineer and medical. The wing provides facilities for U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and other forces assigned to or transiting Kadena.

Approximately 7,000 military members are assigned to the wing. The total base population of 23,000 from five major commands also includes family members, U.S. civilians, Japanese base workers, and contractors. The wing manages $6 billion in resources, including nearly 80

F-15, KC-135, E-3 and HH-60 aircraft valued at more than $4 billion. Other equipment and capital assets are valued at approximately $2 billion.

Kadena’s presence on Okinawa contributes significantly to the island’s economy. The base’s annual economic impact is estimated at $700 million. This includes payments of local employee salaries, rent for off-base housing, and contracts with local companies. Additionally, approximately 7,400 Japanese citizens who own land on Kadena receive land lease payments from the Government of Japan. 

Strategic importance
Kadena operations contribute to regional stability. Approximately 40 percent of U.S. trade is with Asia. Our economy has become interdependent with those of East Asia. Many countries want a U.S. military presence here.

The Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, signed in 1960, sets the parameters of U.S.-Japan bilateral engagement. Article Five addresses response to attack within the territory of Japan.

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger that is in accordance with its constitutional provision and processes.

Article Six of the Treaty allows U.S. Forces to use the facilities and areas in Japan for maintaining regional peace and security. For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East, the U.S. is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan. The use of these facilities and areas…shall be governed by a separate agreement.

Leaders of both countries have repeatedly affirmed that the bilateral security relationship, based on the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the U.S., remains the cornerstone for achieving common security objectives and for maintaining a stable and prosperous environment for the Asia-Pacific region in the 21st century.

CAO: October 20, 2021