The top airman in the Pacific believes that key regional allies are very interested in the coming arrival of the RQ-4 Global Hawk in theater, and its presence will help build up multilateral relationships and data sharing. Several nations, including Japan, Australia, South Korea, India, and the Philippines, among others, sent representatives to Hickam AFB, Hawaii in April (and a concurrent visit to Beale AFB, Calif.) to get briefings on the high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle. “I will tell you that particular forum generated a lot of interest in terms of how we would share information,” said Gen. Howie Chandler, commander of Pacific Air Forces, during an interview at AFA’s Air and Space Conference Sept. 17. Chandler has been advocating a proposed Pacific Global Hawk cooperation consortium, an initiative begun under his predecessor, now-retired Gen. Paul Hester. Chandler said that one key to the initiative’s success will be agreement among the various nations to permit airfield access to enable a “gas and go” capability for the UAV. “The bigger nut to crack of course is data sharing,” he said. “How we take a theater that has typically had bilateral relationships and getting multilateral data sharing.” He said there are opportunities in disseminating Global Hawk data on a host of challenges, such as economic security zones, piracy, and anti-terror efforts. “As an Air Force, we need to get better at how we analyze what we actually take off that platform,” Chandler said. PACAF now has to work on developing a concept of operations for its Global Hawks, due to begin arriving at Andersen next year, he added.
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.