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African Air Chiefs meet in Morocco to discuss air security across Africa

Distinguished guests take part in the 8th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to create a forum for air chiefs from across the African continent to come together to address regional and continental issues, enhance relationships and increase cooperation. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)

Distinguished guests take part in the 8th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to create a forum for air chiefs from across the African continent to come together to address regional and continental issues, enhance relationships and increase cooperation. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)

General Tod Wolters, USAFE-AFAFRICA Commander, led the 8th African Air Chiefs Symposium in Marrakech, Morocco from 22-23 Oct. The U.S., along with 28 African nations, met together to discuss air security across Africa and ways to strengthen relationships and increase regional cooperation among partners in Africa. One highlight of the event was the signing of the Association of African Air Forces (AAAF) Charter by Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia, bringing the total number of participating nations to 23. The AAAF a voluntary and non-political organization for African air forces that helps strengthen the bonds of friendship, cooperation and mutual support among its members.

General Tod Wolters, USAFE-AFAFRICA Commander, led the 8th African Air Chiefs Symposium in Marrakech, Morocco from 22-23 Oct. The U.S., along with 28 African nations, met together to discuss air security across Africa and ways to strengthen relationships and increase regional cooperation among partners in Africa. One highlight of the event was the signing of the Association of African Air Forces (AAAF) Charter by Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia, bringing the total number of participating nations to 23. The AAAF a voluntary and non-political organization for African air forces that helps strengthen the bonds of friendship, cooperation and mutual support among its members.

Chief Master Sergeant Phillip L. Easton, USAFE-AFAFRICA Command Chief, addresses a room of senior enlisted African military officials during the 8th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium (AACS). This year marks the first time in the history of AACS that African enlisted leaders participated  with the air chiefs to discuss African air defense issues and ways to increase military cooperation. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)

Chief Master Sergeant Phillip L. Easton, USAFE-AFAFRICA Command Chief, addresses a room of senior enlisted African military officials during the 8th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium (AACS). This year marks the first time in the history of AACS that African enlisted leaders participated with the air chiefs to discuss African air defense issues and ways to increase military cooperation. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)

General Tod D. Wolters, Commander, USAFE-AFAFRICA, applauds a speaker at the 8th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to create a forum for air chiefs from across the African continent to come together to address regional and continental issues, enhance relationships and increase cooperation. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)

General Tod D. Wolters, Commander, USAFE-AFAFRICA, applauds a speaker at the 8th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to create a forum for air chiefs from across the African continent to come together to address regional and continental issues, enhance relationships and increase cooperation. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cody Hendrix/Released)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Air Chiefs and senior leaders from 28 African air forces along with senior leadership from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa met together for the 8th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium here Oct. 22-23.

The AACS is an annual forum for air chiefs across Africa to meet together with the U.S. to discuss continental defense issues and increased cooperation among African air forces. The 2018 symposium marks the second year in a row it reached its highest attendance of 29 nations, including the United States.

“The goal for the 2018 African Air Chiefs Symposium was to improve transparency and alignment, and we have,” said Gen. Tod D. Wolters, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander. “The air chiefs have been extremely satisfied with the engagements and opportunities to share tactics, techniques and procedures. It is in this forum that we can address challenges, discuss solutions and defeat transnational threats together.”

Featuring the theme of air security across Africa, this year’s AACS provided air chiefs a forum to discuss their respective nations’ specific security challenges. The symposium also included 15 new air chiefs in attendance, so simply providing an opportunity for everyone to meet was an added benefit.

In addition to the air chiefs’ forum, the symposium also featured a new senior enlisted agenda specifically dedicated to enlisted training and force development, marking the first time multiple African nations sent senior enlisted leaders along with their service leaders.

“By inviting senior enlisted leaders, I believe that we can continue to professionalize the enlisted corps throughout Africa and add some more value to the symposium,” said Chief MSgt. Phillip Easton, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief. “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far go together; that’s what this symposium embodies.”

Another highlight of this year’s event was the joining of three new nations, Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia, to the Association of African Air Forces (AAAF). The AAAF, a voluntary and non-political organization focused on strengthening the bonds of friendship, cooperation and mutual support among African air forces, was formed in 2015 and now features 23 member nations.