Pacific Air Forces strengthens partnerships during Pacific Defender

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

The A4S Security Forces Division of Pacific Air Forces Directorate of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, hosted the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force during Pacific Defender, a security forces subject matter expert exchange on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 8 - 11.

The multilateral event was designed to build and strengthen partnerships, sharpen partnership capacity, and increase interoperability with participating Allies and partners.

“The exchange supports U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and PACAF’s security cooperation mission and priorities,” said Tech. Sgt. Shalonda Bowden, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 2 Building Partner Capacity Program manager. “In 2013, PACAF introduced a strategic plan that prioritizes PACAF’s exercise and engagement budget to establish a multilateral training construct in the USINDOPACOM theater, synergizing our robust ties with key Allies and partners.

Throughout the event, attendees exchanged force protection information and gained a mutual understanding of each other’s security operations in the Indo-Pacific.

“The Indo-Pacific is the priority theater, and we owe it to our regional Allies and partners to ensure they know and can trust that if conflict arises, we are prepared to support, side by side, regardless of what that support will look like,” explained Lt. Col. Marc Stanco, PACAF Security Forces Future Operations chief explained. “That trust starts today within the Department of Defense. We must not just build relationships but foster them into a reinforced partnership over time and Pacific Defender is designed to do just that. These critical relationships help to bolster the regional security architecture.”

This past year, through four Pacific Defender events, PACAF Security Forces units have engaged with countries including Australia, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Indonesia, Brunei and the Kingdom of Thailand. Additionally, they have integrated NATO partners for the first time with attendance from Germany and Canada.

The training scenarios vary from base security operations, combatives, fly away security team operations, base defense command and control, military working dog team operations, law and order operations, anti-terrorism, physical security, force protection, area security/field operations, combat arms training, flightline security, and joint integration into field training.

The information shared during Pacific Defender advances future engagement planning alongside participating countries through multilateral outreach programs.

“We’re contributing to regional stability through mutual cooperation and information exchanges by enhancing interpersonal relationships and our ability to operate together,” Bowden explained.

This year’s Pacific Defender SMEE event culminated in a joint, multi-lateral integrated base defense command, communication, and control (IBDC3) tabletop exercise. Attendees also met with U.S. security forces members to observe how various units add to the overall defense in depth concept of Integrated Base Defense.

“Pacific Defender prepares military personnel for joint operations alongside our Allies and partners through shared information and tactics, techniques, and procedures,” Bowden said. “We are able to practice openness and transparency in a non-attribution multinational setting, which is what we all want to continue to operate in a free and open Indo-Pacific.”