Subject-matter exchange enhances partnerships, interoperability in Pacific

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Arielle Vasquez
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
For the first time, subject-matter experts from nine nations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region came to Andersen Air Force Base for a four-day program designed to enhance and integrate logistical capabilities.

Pacific Agility 16-1, a U.S. Pacific Command multilateral subject-matter expert exchange led by Pacific Air Forces, intends to promote regional stability and build partnerships among nations in the Pacific Theater.

“What makes this engagement special is that it has not been done before,” said Senior Master Sgt. Derek Groeling, PACAF Headquarters command armament superintendent. “In the past there have been various other exchanges with the Civil Engineer Squadron and Security Forces Squadron, but the Pacific Agility exchange is the first multilateral exchange with the focus on maintenance and logistics.”

The engagement focused on the importance of contributing to regional security and stability, enhancing logistical interoperability information and developing interpersonal relationships among partner nations.

"The objective here is to increase interoperability among partner nations in the Pacific," said Squadron Leader Darryn Welham, Royal New Zealand Air Force Officer Commanding Fleet Planning Unit. “It's important and also a great opportunity to meet key figures from other nations. When there’s a requirement to respond in someone’s area, we would already have that understanding on what resources to bring to the table.”

With the Pacific being the largest area of responsibility covering 36 nations, continual growth of partnerships and mutual understanding and trust are vital especially in the event when partner nations are called upon for assistance.

“Pacific Agility helps to build regional stability because when there’s an understanding among partners on what they can provide to each other, it’s a lot easier to ask for assistance,” Groeling said. “This engagement builds and modernizes partnerships because it’s focused on the capabilities and technology that we have today. Through discussion, this will strengthen our capabilities and the knowledge gained will be useful for future events.”

Throughout the week, the partners conducted briefings and visited facilities on Andersen AFB to expand their knowledge on cargo pallet build-ups, humanitarian assistance/disaster response capabilities, air transport ability, munitions storage and supply chain management.

"A lot of the focus here is on HA/DR capabilities," Groeling said. “We discussed cargo pallet build-ups which is an important part of transporting materials to different locations. When everyone knows what the partner nations have to bring to those types of disaster or humanitarian issues, the overall mission and process becomes smoother especially having that previous knowledge about one another.”

Pacific Agility participants were able to share their knowledge and skill sets in the logistics and maintenance fields with other nations, allowing the attendees to comprehend each other’s practices and bring back the positive experience gained back to their home unit.

“With this being my first time participating in a subject-matter expert exchange, it was definitely a good experience so far. Something I appreciated was learning more about load movements and load planning,” Welham said. “It’s great to be able meet with U.S. Air Force members and other partner nations to get a much better understanding of capabilities for when we operate in the future.”

There is a shared goal among the partners to continue with these engagements to allow for the growth of alliances, multi-dimensional skills and to improve stability in the Pacific region.