Building Enablers for Air Coalitions

Through activities ranging from foreign military sales to exchanges and training, the Air Force’s international affairs division is working hard to build a “partnering culture” with allies and friends, said Heidi Grant, the Air Force’s deputy undersecretary for international affairs. “We can’t have global reach, global vigilance, or global power without partnerships,” she said on Sept. 17 in her speech at AFA’s Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. The Air Force’s global partnership strategy, combined with a classified assessment called the “security engagement guidance,” helps to provide an outlook on capabilities and capability gaps by country and region, she said. Many countries have large land armies, noted Grant, and frequently her office will work with partners to build nascent air capabilities. As a priority, the Air Force is working to grow global capability in disaster response and enablers, such as aeromedical evacuation, command and control, logistics, and airfield infrastructure, she said. “Even partners with limited resources can perform at least one of these,” said Grant. Nations working together in regions could improve missions like tanker-airlift and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, much like the successful 12-nation C-17 Strategic Airlift Capability that operates out of Papa AB, Hungary, she said.