UEDEM, Germany - NATO's Combined Air Operation Command (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany, hosted two Icelandic Coast Guard Air Surveillance officers from December 5 to 7 for a training event to familiarise them with NATO Air Command and Control and Air Policing procedures.
"Before we came here we did not know how the CAOC is organized," said Karolina Torleifsdottir from the Icelandic Control and Reporting Point (CRP) near Keflavik, call sign "Loki". It was the first time she and her colleague Katrin Gisladottir were inside a NATO agency. "This is a great opportunity to learn more about the tactics, techniques and procedures behind the important mission of keeping my home country secure and integrated in the Alliance," she added.
For the training session at the CAOC, Belgian Air Force Major Mark Meeuwissen and Italian Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Prisco Fusco were assigned to work with the visiting Icelandic Coast Guard specialists to provide an outline and overview of NATO processes and procedures especially for the planning and execution of the CAOC's primary 24/7 task of NATO Air Policing.
"This training benefits both us and them, as we get to talk to each other and to better understand how to share information," said Maj Meeuwissen. "In Air Command and Control it is important we speak the 'same language' and are aware of the tools each of us uses. This improves the way we work jointly to accomplish our mission of making NATO airspace safe," he added.
Iceland is located within CAOC UEDEM's Air Policing Area that covers all Allied airspace north of the Alps. The peacetime Air Policing mission includes cooperation and coordination with Iceland about airspace security and integrity. Since Iceland does not have their own military forces, the Coast Guard takes care of security aspects. They operate the national CRP "Loki" at Keflavik Air Base and the associated radar stations which are integrated into NATO's Air Surveillance and Control System.
NATO, in close cooperation with the Icelandic authorities, has agreed that the appropriate response to ensure the country's peacetime preparedness is to maintain a periodic presence of Allied Forces at Keflavik Air Base. Since 2008 Allies have taken turns in deploying fighter jets to the country for about three to four weeks each year. During these times CAOC UEDEM through CRP "Loki" controls the jets. It is therefore essential that the CRP staff is familiar with NATO command and control procedures to accomplish their job.
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on information provided by Combined Air Operation Centre Uedem