News: Hawaii National Guard air defense experts share with Philippine air force partners
Story by Senior Master Sgt. Kristen Stanley
MANILA, Philippines – Air defense experts from the Hawaii Air National Guard traveled to Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City, Philippines, to conduct an Air Defense, Command and Control Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) with Philippine air force (PAF) partners Aug. 19-23, 2013.
The exchange was in support of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, as Guam and Hawaii are co-partnered with the Philippines.
During the weeklong SMEE, the U.S. air defense experts from the 109th Air Operation Group and the 169th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron provided briefings and shared expertise with their Philippine air force counterparts on a wide spectrum of topics including surveillance, weapons, tactics, identification, command/control and the role of the Air Operations Center.
Philippine military participants included airmen from Headquarters Air Defense Wing (ADW), Philippines Air Defense Control Center (PADCC), Direct Air Support Force (DASF), the 580th Aircraft Control and Warning Group, the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron and the 950th Communications, Electronics, Information System Group (CEISG). The PAF representatives briefed the U.S. team on the current air defense system in the Philippines and a proposed phased plan of modernization. Earlier this year, Philippines President Benigno Aquino announced an initiative to modernize the air defense system of the Philippines to include the procurement of new radars and equipment. A modernized air defense system will allow the Philippines to gain a greater awareness of what's going on in the region and the ability to better defend their own sovereign interests.
Smaller group breakout sessions generated dialogue between PAF and HING airmen. Detailed questions and answers were discussed outside the parameters of the briefings.
“Airmen from both nations shared their ideas and personal experiences resulting in enhanced insight, respect, and appreciation for the contributions of both countries in the attainment of common goals,” said Maj. Clifford Afong, director of operations for the 150th Air Operation Squadron and lead for the Hawaii air defense team.
These military-to-military discussions with U.S. and PAF air defense counterparts are a perfect example of how the Hawaii National Guard State Partnership Program supports the Pacific Realignment strategies and objectives by contributing to bilateral partnership efforts. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is currently conducting discussions and negotiations with the Philippines on a framework agreement to enable U.S. forces to operate on Philippine military bases, in Philippine territory and waters, and enable the U.S. to help beef up the capacity of the Philippines' armed forces.
The National Guard State Partnership Program has been building relationships that today includes 65 unique security partnerships involving 71 nations around the globe. The program links a state's National Guard with the armed forces of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship. In addition to co-partnership with Guam to the Philippines, the Hawaii National Guard is also partnered with Indonesia.
Despite the wrath of Tropical Storm Maring earlier in the week that brought significant flooding to Manila, the SMEE concluded on time and was considered a much-appreciated and successful exchange for both counties. The event closed with a ceremony featuring guest of honor Brig. Gen. Raul Del Rosario, commander of the Air Defense Wing, and a family-style luncheon hosted by the Hawaii Air National Guard participants.
This work, Hawaii National Guard air defense experts share with Philippine air force partners, by SMSgt Kristen Stanley, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.