General Harrigian set the scene providing the strategic context for the discussions. “We win as a team and this meeting is about identifying those areas that collectively are important to us,” he said referring to integrating not only air, land and sea, but also space and cyber capabilities in joint command and control arrangements. With a view to space, he said that “at AIRCOM my team will facilitate what the nations bring and coordinate that effort on behalf of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.”
“Our challenge as a team will be how we operationalise the political guidance to achieve deterrence and collective defence in Europe,” he added highlighting the significance of having concepts in place that ensure an efficient transition from baseline peacetime operations to a potential crisis situation.
Our challenge as a team will be how we operationalise the political guidance to achieve deterrence and collective defence in Europe
The keynote address was given by Royal Air Force Air Marshal Stuart Atha who introduced the audience to the topic of operations in a Multi-Domain Environment.
“We need to determine how we should prepare individually and collectively as air forces and as part of the joint force,” Air Marshal Atha said. “Our efforts must cover the span of training, exercising and education and place the generation of command and control competence and capacity at the top of our priorities,” he concluded.
In parallel, chaired by the Allied Air Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Warrant Officer Sara Catterall, representatives of the Allied and Partner enlisted communities met to discuss the role of the enlisted staff in the context of air operations in the Multi-Domain Environment.
A facilitated discussion on Air Command and Control evolution and exercises was followed by General Harrigian’s closing remarks and completed the fall gathering of Allied and Partner Air Chiefs at Ramstein, Germany.
The first meeting at this level was convened at Ramstein back in 1977 by then Headquarters Allied Air Forces Central Europe or AAFCE. The forum has since been growing to include leaders of the 25 member air forces contributing to NATO’s Allied Air Command and senior observers from the air forces of NATO’s Partnership programmes.