Building Capacity With Partners and Allies

The Air Force’s holistic approach to engaging international partners not only increases interoperability and effectiveness, but reduces risk and makes potential adversaries rethink assumptions around the world, Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Heidi Grant told attendees at ASC15 Sept. 15. Today, over 70 countries share common mobility, fighter, or air refueling aircraft variants with USAF “and we see new opportunities approaching with [remotely piloted aircraft] and with smart weapons,” Grant said. But cooperation is defined by more than just capabilities, and includes USAF efforts to foster collaboration across a wide range of activities. USAF has moved to strengthen activities such as professional military education exchanges and the building of regional affairs specialists, as well as finding opportunities for partners to attend and participate in “high end exercises.” Examples of functional component cooperation include Air Mobility Command’s mobility support advisory squadrons, who help advise partner air forces on capability development, and Air Force Space Command’s six wideband global SATCOM partnerships with allies and partners. These are just some of the “broad reach of efforts” USAF is conducting to build more capable partners and allies.