The Simple Approach

In the world of high-tech gizmos, basic human interactions can still be the most effective way to secure peace and stability, a senior Air Force general says. “When it boils right down to it, it is face-to-face contact, it is mil-to-mil contact,” Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, commander of 12th Air Force and Air Forces Southern, told reporters Jan. 16 in the Pentagon. Seip said activities such as sending teams of Air Force medical specialists down to Central and South America for training and helping the locals or one-on-one exchanges between airmen mechanics have proven to have a long-lasting positive impact in his area of responsibility. “It shows our continuous presence,” he said. “It shows that we are interested in how they conduct their business as an air force. And it prevents voids that might be filled by other air forces that we don’t necessarily want influencing the region down there.” Indeed, he said. “If we do the things right in South and Central America with the phase zero of military operations, which is building partnership capacity and military relationships … then we don’t potentially have to eventually have a repeat of Iraq and Afghanistan of Phase 3 and Phase 4 of warfare.”