International partnership garners distinguished award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Raheem Moore
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency
One of the Air Force priorities is to partner with the joint and coalition team to win today's fight, and one Air Force leader is doing just that.

The Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Maj. Gen. James O. Poss, was honored with the John Curtis Sword award July 12 at the Farnborough Air Show in London.

The award is presented to the person or persons who best demonstrate transatlantic leadership and cooperation.

Airmen from the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and United Kingdom Royal Air Force 51 Squadron are conducting joint missions in RC-135 Rivet Joint.

This joint training was established when the U.K. Ministry of Defense and the Defense Department reached an agreement for the Royal Air Force to purchase three RC-135's.

Poss was instrumental in crafting and designing the memorandum of understanding between the Air Force and Royal Air Force to cooperatively manage the sustainment and follow-on development of the entire fleet through 2025.

"It feels fantastic to see that this particular area of Anglo/American cooperation is getting recognition that we don't often get in the reconnaissance world," Poss said.

The missions between the two countries allowed for the U.K. to preserve vital reconnaissance capabilities after its Nimrod R1 reconnaissance aircraft was retired in June 2011.

The Rivet Joint supports theater and national level consumers with near real time on-scene intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities.Most recently these airmen have conducted co-manned coalition missions supporting world-wide operations.

Early on in Poss's career he worked joint operations with the Royal Air Force. "I grew up flying joint reconnaissance with the Royal Air Force," Poss said. "We flew on a daily basis with our brother Royal Air Force squadron, 51 Squadron flying the Nimrod R."

After the Royal Air Force crews have been trained, they return to RAF Waddington's 51 Squadron to await deployment with U.S. Air Force crews, and ultimately in the future operate their own Royal Air Force RC-135's.

The partnership provides a joint intelligence, surveillance and Rrconnaissance capability to combatant commanders wherever there is a need.

"The United Kingdom continues to be one of our most trusted coalition partners in times of both war and peace, and we fully support all efforts to strengthen our intelligence ties," said James Clapper, the director of national intelligence in a 2008 memo. "We agree the RAF's participation in the Rivet Joint program offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve integration of (Royal Air Force) and (U.S. Air Force) ISR assets."