Regional African Air Chiefs Symposium begins

  • Published
  • By Capt. Reba Good
  • USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

The U.S. 3rd Air Force commander and Ghana's chief of air staff hosted opening ceremonies for the second Regional Air Chiefs Symposium at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center here Aug. 20.

Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin expressed gratitude to Gahna's Air Vice Marshal Michael Samson-Oje for co-hosting and shared his thoughts on the symposium during his welcome remarks.

"I'm looking forward to the great discussions we will no doubt have over the next few days," Franklin said. "This is a tremendous gathering of air chiefs from across the region, and it would be unfortunate if we didn't take full advantage of this moment to develop some specific, concrete steps to promote the collective effects of airpower in addressing a host of challenges."

The Ghanaian armed forces began the symposium with a troop review and welcome remarks by representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana; Ghana armed forces; and U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.

Gen. Frank Gorenc, the commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa, delivered the keynote address emphasizing how regional collaboration can achieve common goals.

"For example, one nation might have an excellent helicopter fleet, another might have skilled loadmasters, and another might have outstanding air operations planners," Gorenc said. "If these three nations integrated their skills, together they could provide an important, robust capability to missions throughout the continent."

Gorenc then challenged the air chiefs to think outside the box when developing these capabilities.

"We must continue to embrace our changing environment and find ways to better utilize our nations' limited resources for our mutual security," he said.

Following the opening ceremony, 10 air chiefs, from West and East Africa, attended discussion panels aimed at developing solutions to regional issues using their unique air capabilities.

Representatives from the African Union and Economic Community of West African States also took part in the discussions.

The symposium will wrap up Aug. 22 with a final focus on lessons learned.

Panel topics include ways to enhance collaborative air power contributions to irregular warfare and peacekeeping operations.