Pacific allies host Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance subject matter expert exchange

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Eric Summers Jr.
  • Pacific Air Forces
Members from the U.S. Air Force and Philippine Air Force gathered for a Subject Matter Expert Exchange at Villamor Air Base, Philippines from Nov. 6 to Nov. 15, 2023.

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance SMEs from both nations met for the first time and exchanged best practices and policies in an effort to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and Philippine defense forces.

“Enhancing interoperability between the U.S. and Philippine defense forces contributes to the long-term advancement of our nations’ shared interests,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Brett Nelson, 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard, and USAF Villamor team lead. “During the (exchange), USAF and PAF service members worked together and applied lessons learned from previous operations. These operations are critical for strengthening trust between like-minded nations to ensure the air, maritime, cyber, and space domains remain open to all nations.”

The first two days of the exchange began with experts from the intelligence and remotely piloted aircraft communities explaining each nations’ intelligence gathering and analyst capabilities

“This marked the first exchange that united all players in the remotely piloted aircraft architecture,” said Nelson. “By bringing in multiple intelligence personnel from different specialties, the USAF and PAF analysts were able to discuss valuable best practices in an environment suited for collective learning.”

The goal of the exchange was to strengthen the alliance and partnerships with the PAF to create a networked security architecture capable of deterring aggression, maintaining stability, and ensuring free access to common domains in accordance with international law.

“These combined exchanges increase interoperability, strengthen our relations, and allow the USAF to build true partnerships with our like-minded friends who also seek a free and open INDOPACIFIC region with peace as the ultimate goal,” explained Nelson. “The exchanges are where the rubber meets the road; they are foundational for future success”

PAF Col. Irvin Tanap, 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing deputy commander, agreed that the exchanges contribute to the long-term advancement of our nations’ shared interests.

“It’s going to be a very good opportunity for us to learn from each other,” said Tanap. “We will share our experience, and learn from the knowledge you will share to enhance both our capabilities. These interactions build for a stronger partnership in the future for our region.”

The event concluded with demonstration of how the nations can work together during a visit from PAF Maj. Gen. Fabian Pedregosa, PAF chief of air staff, where they implemented lessons learned from each other to conduct a joint analysis using information provided by each nation.

“We have gained an understanding for the differences and similarities between our units, developed strong working relationships with our counterparts, and participated in cultural and recreational activities that have given all team members a unique perspective,” said Nelson. “We have experienced the rich culture here in the Philippines and look forward to continued partnership moving forward.”