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News | Oct. 8, 2020

U.S. joint forces train with regional partners to build cohesion, strengthen defense

By U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

In today’s dynamic environment, U.S. Air Forces Central routinely works together with regional partners and joint forces to strengthen and reinforce the coalition's collective ability to defend the region. Last month, USAFCENT Airmen joined their U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. Army Central brethren to train with regional partners on aerial integration and defensive counter air measures.

“Defending this region requires mutual respect and cohesion," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, USAFCENT commander. "By combining our joint forces with resolute partners and pushing the limits of our training scenarios, we demonstrate our collective drive to promote regional stability."

Throughout the scenario, service members employed a mix of U.S. Air Force fighter, tanker, electronic warfare and command and control aircraft with U.S. Navy and regional partner fighters.  The aircraft synchronized with ground-based command and control centers, weapon systems and sensor capabilities to build an integrated air and missile defense picture.

“Building a resilient air picture where we can defend our essential assets requires us to react quickly with a variety of sources,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Dunn, the event's mission commander. “Although we integrate daily, joint multi-lateral exercises test our skills in a dynamic and challenging environment.  This is essential for operational cohesion and success.”

While aircraft are critical in providing protection, multiple domains must work together to provide layered defense. During the exercise, USARCENT Patriot air and missile defense system units provided a critical line of defense against simulated integrated ballistic missile defense to counter any adversary attacks.

“Opportunities like this are critical in allowing our nations’ air and missile defense forces to practice the teamwork needed to defend our interests,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew Inglis, 5-52 Air Defense Artillery Battalion commander, “Events like this confirm that we are stronger and more effective together.”

Inglis added that while Patriots are one piece of the puzzle, the U.S. and partner nations face an advanced and complex threat that requires a viable mixture of combined and joint solutions.

“Every time we conduct a coalition event, we affirm that our nations are committed to increasing one another's capacity and readiness," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kaitlyn Zimmitti, U.S. Air Forces Central Strategy Plans Division officer. “As long-term security partners, we are so appreciative when we get to work side-by-side and strengthen our relationships to ensure we can protect against and counter destabilizing activities."