Pacific air chiefs gather to address regional security, strengthen partnerships

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

The heads of national air forces from around the globe participated in the opening ceremony for the Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium 2023, held at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Nov. 14.

The week-long event focuses on applying global lessons to challenges of regional security and is the largest biannual air chief symposium to date, with 22 countries attending.

Gen. Ken Wilsbach, PACAF commander and host of PACS 23, will lead discussions on topics of regional security as well as developing a networked security architecture among Allies and partners. Also in attendance is the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Allvin, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne Bass.

“The Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium is a crucial forum to strengthen alliances and partnerships,” said Allvin. “As security challenges evolve rapidly around the world, our Air Force must leverage these exchanges to deter aggression and promote shared values. Together, with our allied and partner air chiefs, we reinforce security and stability throughout the region.”

This week, air chiefs and senior enlisted leaders will focus on applying global lessons from recent events and the necessity to preserve peace and prevent conflict in the Indo-Pacific.

“Certainly, we have a lot to learn from recent responses to conflict and we look to draw upon valuable lessons to enhance regional security in the Indo-Pacific,” Wilsbach said. “The war in Ukraine has shown the importance of maintaining strong alliances and partnerships to respond to aggression, upholding the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law. It’s also highlighted the significance of all-domain awareness and the need for advanced communication technologies and sensor fusion.”

The symposium will feature panels discussing the importance of air domain awareness, lessons learned from recent conflicts, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The event will also feature several social engagements for the international partners to tighten their bonds.

“The importance of strong alliances, partnerships, and the contributions of an empowered enlisted force cannot be understated,” Bass said. “They are our most strategic competitive advantage over any adversary. The deeper we cultivate these bonds, the better we understand each other, and the more we effectively leverage the capabilities of our nations.”

Unique this year, PACS 23 will culminate with the graduation of the inaugural Inter-Pacific Air Forces Academy, or IPAFA, which provides professional military education to Ally and partner enlisted service members across the Indo-Pacific. The academy’s primary focus is nurturing effective enlisted command leadership teams and establishing a robust partnership network for mutual support, which further highlights America’s commitment to alliances and partnerships, as well as interoperability among forces.

“The importance of a strong enlisted force cannot be understated,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Wolfe, PACAF command chief. “And it's definitely our intention to share and collaborate with all nations here to further empower enlisted forces and move all of us one step forward.”

Ultimately the Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium brings together military leaders from across the Indo-Pacific, Europe, South America and North America to address shared challenges and strengthen ever-deepening partnerships.