Planting a Seed

An Air Force contingent traveled to Nigeria for 10 days in mid-January to meet with senior Nigerian officials, including the Nigerian Minister of Defence and Nigerian Chief of Air Staff, for discussions on improving the safety and security features of the African nation’s air domain. The trip was one of the numerous activities that 17th Air Forces, the air component of US Africa Command, has underway to bolster the capacity of African partner nations to help promote stability on the vast continent. Among the activities, Lt. Col. David MacKenzie, deputy director of plans for 17th AF, led a group that assessed the state of the Nigerian Air Force’s mostly grounded C-130 fleet for possible reconstitution as a means to support African peacekeeping missions. MacKenzie also exchanged ideas on search and rescue with senior Nigerian civil authorities. The findings of the trip will help shape future US cooperation with Nigeria. “We hope the Nigerians establish a safe and efficient air domain model in Nigeria and hope it takes root and spreads” to other parts of the region, said MacKenzie. (17th AF report by Maj. Paula Kurtz)