94th Army Air, Missile Defense Command hosts Multilateral Integrated Air, Missile Defense Summit

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

The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command organized an annual Multilateral Integrated Air and Missile Defense Summit at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, from Dec. 4-8.

"As a joint force, we will always fight alongside our Allies and partners," said Col. Todd A. Schmidt, director of Army University at the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. "It's about getting people together to learn from one another and figure out how we do things better so that when we have to fight together, we know one another, have established relationships, trust, and shared knowledge."

Expanding from three countries in 2021, seven countries attended this year's iteration of the event, including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. These countries participated in information exchanges and open dialogue to explore solutions to persistent regional challenges and enhance air defense capabilities.

"The Pacific area is globally significant, and we also understand that many of our partners and Allies are positioned in the region, and therefore, we would wish to support them in the maintenance of peace, prosperity, and stability in the region," said Royal Air Forces Group Capt. Jules Weekes, RAF Combat Readiness Force commander. "It's really important that we maintain the network, exchange information, and gain a greater understanding of the dynamics in the Pacific region. It's the relationships that form the trust that follows from these interactions."

Within the summit, Allies and partners collaborated to integrate air defense systems against peer and near-peer capabilities. Their mutual effort is driven by a shared commitment to uphold a rules-based international order that enhances the combined force's ability to deter, defend, and defeat potential adversaries.

The briefings enabled open dialogue among participants about various topics, including how to establish a multilateral air defense design for the region, global security challenges, strategic priorities, collaborative goals, multilateral exercises, and future opportunities.

"I think the country briefs have been immensely useful. We've had updates from each of the countries that have precedence about what they do in the IMD area, what that might mean for the region," Weekes said. "And then there's just the exchanges and the building of the network, from the people that we've met, and the follow-ups that will occur because of the relationships we've built. And there's also a greater understanding of the exercises and how we might want to exercise together so that we are better integrated in the future."

Overall, the summit enabled all Allies and partners to bring a variety of strengths and capabilities from technical subject matter experts to coordinate alongside friendly forces in response to current, emerging, and future challenges. Ultimately, the goal of the summit was to discuss ways to leverage their combined strengths to ensure a multilateral air defense for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

"If we have a strong integrated air and missile defense, they will see that there is a strong alliance between partner nations, and that there's a common goal to defend those areas," Weekes explained. "And so that will, in itself, will be a natural deterrent."