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    Inter-American Allies

    Maj. David Landenberger - IAAFA Pilot Instrument Procedures Course - Brazilian Air Force

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Janiqua Robinson | Maj. David Landenberger is a transport pilot from the Brazilian Air Force and is...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Janiqua Robinson 

    Airman Magazine   

    The Inter-American Air Forces Academy’s mission, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, is to provide military education and training to military personnel of eligible partner nations. To accomplish this, IAAFA partners with 23 countries to teach 32 curricula to include professional military education, aircrew training and technical training.

    “A great deal can be said about why IAAFA is important and how it engenders and strengthens the international partnerships that are a crucial component of U.S. national defense planning and strategy, or how it enables our international partners to improve and refine their own defense capabilities," said George Gagnon, Air Education and Training Command international training and education director. "The main reason, however, that IAAFA is both truly special and vitally important in terms of U.S. national interests can be gleaned from its name (Inter-American Air Forces Academy). This unique DoD organization, authorized by 10 USC §349, is the only military school in the world focused entirely on providing high-quality Air Force technical training and professional military education to personnel from Central American, South American and Caribbean countries.”

    Airman Magazine initially photographed and interviewed these students and instructors on their very first day of a 12-week Pilot Instrument Procedure Course, or PIP-C, offered by IAAFA. In this follow-up, we photographed and interviewed them days ahead of their graduation.

    “The academy has been here for over 75 years. Students have been coming for that time and some of these students end up becoming the chief of staff of their air force or at least in very high positions. That’s how enduring long-term relationships are built and our course is a small piece,” explained Albert Nieves, PIP-C lead instructor. “We share a geographical state with our neighbors and since the early days, we’ve learned that our neighbors are our safety network. By having the students come here, we’re getting to understand our neighbors, we’re talking to our neighbors and we’re learning from them. Both parties making that effort to travel, teach and instruct is what builds those relationships, it’s what builds trust so when the crisis does come or when it comes time to select your partner of choice, it turns out to be the United States.”

    While IAAFA is an academy and its mission encompasses providing training and classes that meet the academic requirements for partner nations, there is more to the school and its mission than meets the eye.

    “Moreover, IAAFA provides that training entirely in Spanish, which is only officially authorized at a few Defense Department service schools, including the Army's WHINSEC at Fort Benning, Georgia and the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School at Stennis, Mississippi. In spite of its small size and relatively low-profile, I believe it is fair to say that the training IAAFA and its antecedents have been providing for almost 80 years – since 1943 – has had an entirely positive and far-reaching impact on both the U.S. and our partner military air forces,” Gagnon said.

    The full impact of IAAFA’s mission is demonstrated daily through a concept called security cooperation. Security cooperation refers to all activities undertaken by the DoD to encourage and enable international partners to work together to achieve strategic objectives. This encompasses everything from training to the purchase of weapon systems and it ultimately leads to trust and interoperability between the U.S. Air Force and its partner nations.

    “Security cooperation is more than just a strategy, it’s more than the National Defense Strategy, it’s about the person-to-person interactions; that’s what makes a big difference,” explained Col. José Jiménez Jr., IAAFA commandant. “I’ve seen four-star generals in Latin America have a great appreciation and love for the United States and what we stand for primarily because of the relationships they made here with individuals here at the academy.”

    These person-to-person interactions don’t just happen within PIP-C, but every training course IAAFA offers. Through professional military education, international students learn best practices that they take back to their respective air forces and use to enhance force development. The security forces training, which includes a Ground Defense Leadership Course and a Special Reaction Team Course, helps ensure interoperability and guarantees security cooperation is being accomplished at the tactical level.

    “We essentially create force multipliers over there and it’s mutually beneficial to both of us in the long run,” explained Tech. Sgt. Edwin Acevedo, IAAFA security forces course instructor. “We have subject matter expert exchanges where we go to their countries, see how they operate and explain how we operate. It all comes down to the great power competition. We’re partner nations, we’re neighboring countries and we want to show them we’re on the same team and that our interests align.”



    Date Taken: 04.03.2023
    Date Posted: 11.15.2023 10:03
    Story ID: 457860

    Web Views: 68
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