The US must continue to build and maintain partnerships with other nations because strong relationships can’t be built overnight and a coalition is critical in complex situations like the fight against ISIS, Maj. Gen. Lawrence Martin, assistant deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, said Tuesday at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast. The US “firmly believes that we can’t go it alone” in Iraq and Syria, and strong coalitions take time and effort to develop, Martin said. Right now, 12 partner nations are participating in airstrikes against ISIS, Martin said. The coalition comprises several long-standing partners, like Australia, which brought a full package of aircraft, including fighters, airborne early warning control aircraft, a tanker, and air mobility aircraft, as well as partners from the Gulf region, including Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and UAE. But partnerships aren’t limited to building air?power capacity and capability, Martin said. The US is seeking new opportunities to cooperate on space and cyberspace, and already has space situational awareness agreements to allow information sharing with eight partner countries, he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.