A2A Talks Between the PAF and PACOM Successfully Conducted, Aim to Enhance Interoperability

Submitted by AFPAO on Wed, 07/04/2018 - 14:28

Major General Conrado V Parra Jr., Vice Commander of the Philippine Air Force, led a delegation of six (6) PAF officers that met with Major General Mark Dillon, Pacific Air Forces Vice Commander, and twenty-four (24) airmen of the Pacific Air Forces, Marine Forces Pacific, and Hawaii Army National Guard personnel to discuss the way ahead for military cooperation during the Airman-to-Airman (A2A) talks held on August 29-31 in Hawaii, USA. The PAF participants in the A2A are mostly A-staff members, namely: Colonel Jessie A Banastao PAF (GSC), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (AC of AS) for Intelligence, A-2; Colonel Fermin M Carangan PAF (GSC), AC of AS for Operations, A-3; Colonel Rene Raoul DC Honasan PAF (GSC), AC of AS for Logistics, A-4; Colonel Jeffrey C Hechanova PAF (MNSA), AC of AS for Plans and Programs, A-5; and Colonel Gerson N Lopez PAF (GSC), AC of AS for Communication Electronics and Information System, A-6. Also, joining them in the talks was the PAF Vice Commander’s Executive Assistant, Major Tereso T Badayos II PAF. Now on its fifth year, the A2A talks were conceived to foster not only military-to-military relationships with allied forces, but also to pave the way for future collaboration. Confronted with emerging threats and dynamic security landscape that characterized the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, MGen Parra explained to the US airmen the importance of the ability for multi-national militaries to closely work, train, and fight alongside with each other. The 3-day talks aimed at synchronizing planning between the PAF and USAF, shaping engagement priorities, strengthening bilateral relationship between the PAF leadership and its PACAF counterpart, and focusing on a 3 to 5 year outlook for PAF-PACAF activities. According to MGen Parra, the said talks helped in determining activities that will bridge the gap between the two air forces. "We are here to discuss our primary concerns, regarding recent security developments in the East Asia Sea and our hope is that this will be a fruitful engagement for us," he added. For the past few years, the military cooperation between the Philippines and the US has expanded as evidenced by the former hosting the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) and PACAF exercises such as the Balikatan in April 2016 and Pacific Angel program in August 2015, and supporting the Pacific Air Chief Conference, the Pacific Rim Airpower Symposium and the Pacific Airlift Rally. In April 2016, the Philippines also hosted military missions that included a PACOM-directed brief deployment in Clark Air Base of an air contingent that set the foundation for combined training air patrols and maritime disaster response between the two air forces. The PAF benefits from the contingent’s presence through various cooperation and interoperability opportunities. The PAF’s key engagements and successful talks such as the A2A further enable the PAF and PACAF leaders to develop and streamline the tactics, techniques and procedures that both forces share, thereby strengthening the US-Philippine bilateral relationship. The PAF engages with the USAF in its reinvigorated efforts to modernize its air power capability and in implementing its Flight Plan 2028 transformation goals. It is expected that next year’s A2A talks will be sponsored by the PAF in September. Photo credits to USAF