PACAF virtually hosts Philippine airmen, strengthens partnership

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

Subject matter experts from Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) gathered virtually to engage with Airmen from the Philippine Air Force during the ninth annual, and first virtual, PACAF-Philippine Air Force Airmen-to-Airmen Talk (A2AT), February 22-25, 2021.

A2ATs enable PACAF to expand Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships through a series of conferences and discussions with allied and partner nations’ air force representatives. The talks help establish an avenue for the two air forces to enhance military-to-military relations, engagements, and interoperability, all in support of the Department of Defense’s commitment to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“Our teams have discussed a number of topics ranging from large exercises and operations to focused engagements such as air domain awareness, communications, intelligence, logistics readiness, and professionalization,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. David B. Burgy, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander of PACAF. “These discussions covered topics that are mutually beneficial to both of our Air Forces to strengthen interoperability, improve engagements and refine our shared strategic outlook.”

“This year’s virtual Airmen-to-Airmen Talk was a huge success. We are excited to expand our collaboration and engagement efforts to advance our mutual security interests. We look forward to building upon and strengthening the close cooperation and long-lasting relationship with Pacific Air Forces,” said Maj. Gen. Florante Amano, Vice Commander of the Philippine Air Force. “On behalf of the men and women of the Philippine Air Force, I would like to express my gratitude to Maj. Gen. Burgy, and all other staff members who contributed to our successful and productive conference.”

This year’s A2AT discussions focused on air domain awareness and logistics readiness. The two air forces exchanged their strategic vision in the Indo-Pacific, agreed to conduct a series of military exercises and engagements for 2022, and updated the 5-year engagement plan to strengthen U.S.-PHL alliance.

On air domain awareness, PACAF and the Philippine Air Force laid out a strategic plan on utilizing a series of Subject Matter Expert Exchanges and in-country visits to enhance the Philippine Air Force’s ability to monitor, detect, identify and defend against unknown air assets within the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone. Additionally, this year’s A2AT included a comprehensive discussion on logistics, one of the key enablers for Philippine Air Force’s to further enhance its defense posture in the region.

“The PACAF and Philippine Air Force teams held a series of productive discussions to outline our logistics engagement efforts in the next 5 years,” said Col. Dan Lockert, Chief of Logistics Plans Division at PACAF/A4. “Every logistics career field in our Air Force was represented during our meetings and we are excited to assist the Philippine Air Force to expand airfield logistics readiness and air asset deployment capabilities.”

The teams also discussed upcoming PACAF-Philippine Air Force exercise opportunities in the Indo-Pacific such as Balikatan, Pacific Airlift Rally, Pacific Angel, Cope North, and Red Flag-Alaska. Additionally, the two co-chairs agreed to rename Bilateral Air Contingent Exchange – Philippines, an annual major PACAF-Philippine Air Force operation, to a Tagalog name later this year.

These activities set forth PACAF’s commitment to uphold the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 – which commemorates its 70th anniversary this year – and to support the Philippine Air Force’s Flight Plan 2028. In addition, they are closely aligned to PACAF’s primary focus on strengthening alliances and partnerships, expanding interoperability, and operationalizing new warfighting concepts for strategic competition.

The Philippines is the oldest U.S. ally in Asia and PACAF has long shared a robust and close relationship with the Philippine Air Force. Most recently, PACAF collaborated with the Joint United States Military Advisory Group – Philippines to deliver a C-130H aircraft to the Philippine Air Force, expanding the Philippine Air Force’s airlift capabilities to support ongoing pandemic relief efforts in the Philippines.

The virtual discussions helped PACAF to further bolster its relations with the Philippine Air Force, paving the way to build a stronger alliance more capable of deterring aggression, maintaining peace and stability, and ensuring a free and open Indo Pacific.