U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis recognized the impact strong alliances make on national security when he stated in his recent message to DOD employees “that no nation is secure without friends.” In the week leading up to Mattis's message, a team of U.S. and Philippine service members met at Clark Air Base, Philippines, for a series of bilateral Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEEs) concentrated on strengthening military-to-military relationships between the two countries.
The Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing deployed its Eagle Vision ground-based satellite imagery system alongside Soldiers from the U.S. Army's 5th Engineer Detachment Geospatial Planning Cell and 500th Military Intelligence Brigade. The Airmen and Soldiers met with 15 Philippine intelligence specialists to train together.
"While we are here in the Philippines our concentration is on the many ways our two nations can use satellite imagery to support Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) operations," said Tech. Sgt. Geofroy Erese, Eagle Vision's Data Integration Segment non-commissioned officer-in-charge.
Eagle Vision is a tool the U.S. Air Force uses to acquire unclassified, commercial satellite imagery. According to Erese, satellite imagery can make a tremendous impact on the success of HA/DR operations.
"Your decision-making is only as good as the information you have. If you have old snapshots of an area then you might not know how to best get relief and aid to the people counting on you. We wanted to share the value of this information with our allies in the Philippines," said Erese.
Eagle Vision has supported several bilateral training activities over the last decade. Balikatan is the most notable bilateral training activity between the Philippine and U.S. armed forces. In years past, the Philippines' military has used maps and products produced by Eagle Vision during the training activity.
The ongoing SMEEs, with their HA/DR focus, provide the Philippine and U.S. service members an opportunity to explore and discuss techniques for gathering satellite imagery and then apply the information operationally.
"These abilities will be very useful for us in our operations. Especially to support HA/DR. Typhoons are a major influence in our country and the Philippines Air Force is relied upon to deliver relief goods. Using this advanced intel will help us support relief and rescue operations in making decisions on where and when to deliver aid," said 1st Lt. Giovanni Macuro, a flight chief with the Philippines Air Force's 306th Air Reconnaissance Squadron.
Satellite imagery acquisition and analysis are the main topics the U.S. and Philippine service members have discussed over the past week.
"First you need the imagery, which Eagle Vision provides, then you need to make sense of what you've got. I'm doing my part to share what I know with our allies here," said Spc. Antonio Martin, a geospatial engineer.
Martin, an Atlanta, Ga., native and who is overseas for the first time in his career, led a discussion about ArcGIS, a geographic information system software suite used for mapping and providing geographic information.
"I demonstrated some of the ways I compile data for commanders and how that information can become a resource for HA/DR missions," Martin said.
Martin's software demonstration is well-timed. The Philippines Air Force has used ArcGIS for the past three years and is looking to expand its number of personnel skilled and experienced with the software.
"I thought we'd be using a lot of open-source resources like Google Earth for example. I was excited when I found out they are familiar with the software I use. I knew we'd have a lot to share with each other. In my opinion working together and learning from each other is the best way enhance our relationship. It's like a brotherhood. Brothers may not always see eye-to-eye, but when there's a mission to accomplish we come together to help each other out," said Martin.
The SMEE will conclude this week with a capstone table-top exchange that simulates Typhoon Haiyan. In 2013, Haiyan caused over 6,000 fatalities in the Philippines. The relief response included more than 18,000 personnel, 844 vehicles and 31 aircraft. The team’s goal is to build upon the relationships forged during the SMEEs and practice advanced methods both nations can use when responding to natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific.
|Date Posted:||01.24.2017 08:06|
|Location:||CLARK AIR BASE, PH|
|Hometown:||ATLANTA, GA, US|
|Hometown:||HONOLULU, HI, US|
This work, Eagle Vision exchange 'focuses' on the U.S. and Philippines military-to-military relationship, by TSgt James Stewart, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.