US, Slovenian armed forces partner in bilateral exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brooke Moeder
  • 31st Fighter Wing

U.S. Air Force and Slovenian armed forces leaders met to discuss bilateral operations and interoperability during a visit at Cerklje ob Krki Air Base, Slovenia, Sept. 9.

Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, and Brig. Gen. Jason E. Bailey, 31st Fighter Wing commander at Aviano Air Base, Italy, met with BG Roman Urbanč, deputy chief of the general staff of the Slovenian armed forces, and Slovenian armed forces Col. Janez Gaube, 15th Wing commander at Cerklje ob Krki AB. They discussed the importance of a strong U.S.-Slovenian partnership for Agile Combat Employment, an operating concept intended to ensure USAFE-AFAFRICA forces are prepared to respond to potential threats by enabling forces to quickly disperse and deliver airpower from remote or austere locations.

“Strong relationships with our European partners are vital to deterring threats and defending our common interests,” Harrigian said. “We’re united by a shared vision of security and stability in the region, and we continually build upon existing partnerships and develop new ones to achieve that goal.”

The visit coincided with the last day of Agile Wyvern, an ACE exercise in Slovenia. Airmen, F-16 Fighting Falcons and support equipment from the 31st FW were involved in the exercise.

“The success of Agile Combat Employment rests on working closely with our NATO allies and partners,” Bailey said. “It is a fundamental element of our security cooperation efforts, such as key leader engagements, subject matter expert exchanges, and exercises like Agile Wyvern which we conducted with our joint and Slovenian armed forces partners.”

During Agile Wyvern, U.S. and Slovenian troops conducted ACE training by rapidly dispersing F-16s from Aviano AB to Cerklje, and deploying tactical command and control assets and support personnel and equipment to operate from another location. The exercise was not only an opportunity for U.S. and Slovenian forces to train side-by-side, but was also the capstone event for the 31st FW to achieve ACE initial operational capability. ACE is intended to improve USAFE-AFAFRICA’s ability to deter, defend and win across the spectrum of conflict.

“Our Airmen benefit greatly from working alongside Slovenian forces,” Harrigian said. “These bilateral training exercises enhance our interoperability and help us maintain joint readiness, making us all better.”