Lieutenant Colonel Hidefumi Okamoto

Hidefumi Okamoto is a visiting research associate at IFPA, where he is engaged in research on U.S. security policy and U.S.-Japan relations. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), where he has served since 1996. He started his military career in Okinawa as an aircraft maintenance officer working on the F-4 Phantom. After working as an instructor of maintenance at First Technical School, Hamamatsu Air Base, for one-and-a-half years, Lt. Col. Okamoto was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas from 2002 to 2004 as an exchange instructor at the U.S. Air Force’s Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course (AMOC). In 2004 he was system manager of E-2C and E-767 weapon systems at the Second Division of the Air Materiel Command, working closely with Northrop Grumman and Electronic Systems Center of the U.S. Air Force. In 2005 Okamoto was assigned as a section chief of quality control at the Maintenance and Supply Group in the 6th Air Wing, Komatsu Air Base, where two F-15 fighter squadrons are stationed. From 2007 to 2008, following a one-year language training course, he studied at the Collège interarmées de défense (CID) in Paris, the joint staff college of the French military. From 2008 to 2010, Okamoto worked in the Air Staff Office, the headquarters of the JASDF in Tokyo, in charge of USAF-JASDF defense cooperation. From 2010 to 2011, he led 150 troops as field maintenance squadron commander of 1st Tactical Airlift Group, Komaki Air Base, which operates C-130 cargo airplanes. In 2012, Lt. Col. Okamoto enrolled at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University where he studied U.S. diplomacy and security policy and received a master’s degree in public administration.