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Unified Engagement 2006 kicks off

  • Published
In a welcoming speech to more than 300 military members and civilians at the Battle Command Training Center here, Gen. Paul V. Hester, Pacific Air Forces commander, kicked off Unified Engagement 2006.

Participants from the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia are here from Nov. 1 to 8 to carry out the Air Force Chief of Staff's simulation known as "UE". The purpose of UE06 is to investigate emerging Air Force, sister service, joint and multi-national operational concepts and capabilities, to learn how to prevent technological, strategic and operational surprise, and to advance coordination among global security partners.

The scenarios used in UE06 are fictitious and set 10-12 years in the future.

"The complexity of the scenario is set far enough out in the future that it gets us out of today's 'inbox,'" General Hester said. "The time frame is 2018, and hopefully our work here this week will prepare us for that future."

The biannual UE series began in 1995. This was the first time the game has been conducted outside Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., or the Washington D.C. area. Because the chief of staff wanted to take the game to the war fighters, he chose the Pacific theater. He is interested in the complex challenges of working with the many nations having a stake in the security of the Pacific region.

The UE06 series began with two small-scale events. The first was held in May in Malaysia and the second was held at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in September. Participants from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States took part. Representatives from Brunei, Pakistan and the Philippines were observers.

"We deal with the 'tyranny of distance' here in the Pacific," General Hester said. "Unlike Europe, we don't have NATO-style organizations, so consequently we do things bilaterally. That's part of the challenge we face out here, but through events like Unified Engagement we're able to open up great learning opportunities with other countries."

Experience gained from UE06, particularly integration into future national security methods, will be analyzed during and long after its completion.

"As we look at the war on terror, we recognize we cannot kill our way to victory. Winning involves all the dynamics of national power between us, our allies and friends...that puts increased emphasis on our U.S. interagency work," General Hester said.

(Courtesy of PACAF News Service)