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NATO's Air and Space Commanders meet at Allied Air Command

On 18 and 19 February 2016, Commander of Allied Air Command, General Frank Gorenc, convened representatives from NATO's Air and Space community for the first Air Commanders' Conference in 2016.

NATO’s Air and Space Commanders gather on 18 February at Allied Air Command, Ramstein Air Base. Photo: Christian Timmig, HQ AIRCOM PAO 

Twenty six flag officers including representatives from NATOs Strategic Commands, Land and Maritime Component Commands, their Senior Enlisted Leaders and NATO's Communications and Information Agency, gathered to discuss Air and Space issues.
Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) is responsible for planning, integrating and executing Command and Control of Air and Missile Defence operations from peacetime pre-crises through conflict.  AIRCOM also executes NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence operations.  To complete these tasks Headquarters AIRCOM relies on the tactical expertise of its subordinate units - the two Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain, along with the Deployable Air Command and Control Centre at Poggio Renatico, Italy.
During opening remarks, General Gorenc outlined AIRCOMs Strategic Objectives for 2016 and explained, "Change is constant.  Where we are sitting now is not where we sat last year.  Just when you start to get comfortable, things change; so we will be talking about those changes.  The environment is more complex than ever.  It is like playing chess in 4 dimensions.
We continue to embrace our emerging missions and look ahead to operational control of NATO’s organic AWACS and Air Ground Surveillance capabilities.  We will also discuss how Air Command continues to adapt to the global challenges and provides opportunities for the Air Component to work with the Maritime and Land Components.  Together we will meet the requirements and aspirations of the Alliance.”
 Commander AIRCOM, General Frank Gorenc welcomes NATO's Air and Space leadership at HQ Allied Air Command, Ramstein and outlines the updates and discussion points to follow.  Photo: Christian Timmig, HQ AIRCOM PAO
NATO operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A 'Sentry' Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft, which provide the Alliance with an immediately available airborne command and control (C2), air and maritime surveillance and battle-space management capability.   
NATO is acquiring the AGS system that will give commanders a comprehensive picture of the situation on the ground. NATO’s past and current operations to protect civilians demonstrate how important such ISR capabilities have become to operations.  Allies are acquiring five Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft and the associated ground command and control stations that make up the AGS system. NATO will then operate and maintain these assets on behalf of all 28 Allies.  
After operational updates on AIRCOM’s Standing Missions and reports from its Subordinate Commands, the discussions focused on the implementation of the Air Command and Control systems, Alliance Assurance Measures and developments towards Ballistic Missile Defence, in the lead up to the Warsaw Summit.   In closing, attendees reviewed NATO exercises, discussed future Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities and shared common perspectives on Joint and Allied challenges.  This biannual conference is critical to AIRCOM’s support for NATOs collective Defence and interoperability.  

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