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Building Partner Aviation Capacity Seminar held in the Indo-Pacific AOR

  • Published
  • By Ciara M. Travis
  • 492d Special Operations Wing

For the first time in history, U.S. Air Force Special Operations School hosted a Building Partnership Aviation Capacity Seminar abroad at Kadena Air Force Base, Japan, 9-20 Sept.

BPACS is a two week course, held quarterly, that brings aviation-minded partner nation military personnel together with U.S. service members and civil servants. Partner nations represented were Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

The intent of the seminar is to educate attendees on the core attributes of the aviation enterprise as they relate to national security strategy formulation and execution.

“An integrated, Joint Force capability is critical for nations in establishing and maintaining sovereignty and security,” said Col Robert Berg, Special Operations Command Pacific deputy commander. “Our partners’ aviation capacity represents a substantial national investment as well as an indicator of a maturing and increasingly complex military capacity in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region”

The seminar is unique from other defense outreach efforts because it examines relevant topics from joint, interagency, and international perspectives.

“These mil-to-mil relationships survive through political upheaval and changes and often form the most enduring attachments between our countries, allowing for the candid exchange of ideas and opinions between senior leaders on matters that effect the entire Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational community,” said Berg. “The US is and has always been a Pacific nation and we will remain committed both in physical presence and ideological support to our allies and partners.”

During this iteration, participants received presentations from guest speakers from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs, U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Pacific Air Forces, Special Operations Command Pacific, Special Operations Command Korea, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, Defense Institute for Security Cooperation Studies, and various offices representing conventional and special operations units that coordinate or deliver security cooperation capacity from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy.

“This forum creates, fosters, and develops the habitual relationships that will be critical to the next generation of natural disasters and international geo-political events,” said Col. John Traxler, Air Education and Training Command, Special Warfare Training Group commander and former ground force commander during the Indonesian earthquake relief efforts. “It’s no small coincidence that my audience included several senior leaders from countries where I have worked to develop relationships, respond to crisis, and plan significant operations. Like me, these leaders turn to BPACS as a valuable resource.”

Traxler, who also served as the ground force commander during the relief efforts in response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant disaster, 9.0 magnitude earthquake and 13 meter tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011, stated that programs like BPACS were vital to ensuring the right resources and talents would be brought to bear in the critical moments that define the most dire circumstances.

During this particular seminar, each partner state provided a presentation to educate the group on key dates in history, government and security challenges, as well as aviation platforms unique to their country. Additionally, participants received tours of the AFSOC theater facilities and assigned aircraft.

Since its creation in 2009, there have been 35 iterations of BPACS. The initial intent for the seminar was to expand the Aviation Enterprise Development concept and build a framework for national security through a purposely-built network with allies and partners.