USAFE-AFAFRICA hosts African partners for the return of vital conference

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Charis Bryan
  • USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

Air force leaders from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia attended an Executive African Partnership Flight strategic planning event Nov. 8-9, 2021, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

The forum, hosted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Commander Gen. Jeff Harrigian, provided the air chiefs an opportunity to discuss their shared vision for the future of multination coordination and interoperability in Africa. 

“Each and every one of our nations has challenges,” Harrigian said.  “This [was] a chance to talk about how we can work together to achieve the security and stability that all of our nations are looking for.”

As commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA, Harrigian serves as the connective tissue between the different African air forces, U.S. Africa Command and NATO. His unique experience on multinational military operations and exercises allowed for candid discussion on the topic of long-lasting military partnerships.

“You can’t surge trust,” said Harrigian. “What we’re doing here is building connections and relationships, so when we need to make a call, someone is picking up the phone on the other side.”

Several participants expressed the need for more agile forces across the continent, as the speed of operations and decision-making becomes more critical.

“If you have a technician, [they] should be able to work on the lines and also be able to do other support services at the same time,” said Ghanaian Air Commodore Joshua L. M. Larkai, Accra Air Base commander. “So when we look at training, people will be multi-tasked. They should be able to do different tasks at the same time, and you should be able to deploy different pieces at the same time.”

USAFE-AFAFRICA wings display similar concepts of multi-capable Airmen during Agile Combat Employment exercises. Just this past year, all wings within the command achieved ACE initial operational capability by completing various capstone exercises.

Though their forces vary in size and capabilities, working groups like the EAPF allow the air chiefs the chance to discuss their combined operational capacities.

“The world is heading towards a direction that is unpredictable,” said Tunisian Air Force Maj. Gen. Mohamed Hajem, TAF Chief of Staff. “We can share and learn from each other.”