Building a Common Picture in the Pacific

The Air Force must work with its regional allies and partners to further develop data and intelligence sharing practices across US Pacific Command in order to build trust and confidence before crisis demands it, Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. Lori Robinson told Air Force Magazine. “If we think of theater security cooperation as trust and confidence, (information sharing) is another measure of cooperation as far as I am concerned,” said Robinson, a veteran air battle manager, during an interview at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando last week. Information sharing needs to be a “constant conversation” with policy makers who set the terms on what information can be shared with who, she said, because “what we don’t want to do is wait for a crisis to be able to share what’s necessary.” From a command and control perspective, PACAF needs to understand what’s happening in a particular crisis in order to provide both the best defenses and the best “mutual understanding.” Robinson said she was impressed with her command visit to the Japanese Air Defense Command at Yokota AB, Japan, where USAF and Japan Air Self Defense Force airmen collaborate extensively and sit side-by-side in a common operations center, looking at a common integrated air picture. This effort has helped both nations to “see the same thing in a common battle space and understand it,” Robinson said. “Airmen talking to each other about what they see, is theater security cooperation at its finest.”