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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) —
Allied and partner Air Chiefs came together on Ramstein Air Base for the bi-annual NATO Air Chiefs’ Symposium on March 16.
Hosted by U.S. Air Force Gen. James Hecker, U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa commander, the meeting allowed allied Air Chiefs the opportunity to come together and collaborate on shared success and combined opportunities in the future. This iteration had topics covering an update on NATO’s Air Shielding effort on the eastern flank of the alliance and requirements for a counter-integrated Air Defense System capability. Discussions also focused on how to upgrade and further improve air bases for combat operations and to accelerate NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense efforts.
U.S. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and U.S. European Command commander, was connected to the symposium via video teleconferencing and shared his vision with NATO’s air and space community.
Italian Air Force Deputy Air Chief Lt. Gen. Aurelio Colagrande presented background on the centenary of the Italian Air Force, and Croatian Air Force Air Chief Brig. Gen. Michael Križanec gave an update on his country’s armed forces modernization program.
“It is a great pleasure to host senior representatives from NATO’s Air Forces again here at Headquarters AIRCOM for 2023’s first iteration of the NATO Air Chiefs’ Symposium,” Hecker said. “This is always a great opportunity to strengthen relationships and improve communications amongst each other. I am convinced this is the ideal forum to facilitate frank, open and fruitful discussions, especially towards the Vilnius Summit in July 2023. We had great exchanges on air and space power related to the overarching theme of the symposium, ‘Accelerating Integration.’”
In addition to the Air Chiefs, Allied Air Forces’ senior enlisted leaders joined for a separate conference at the same time. Senior enlisted leaders represent their commander, communicating the commander’s goals and direction for the command to the enlisted workforce, while simultaneously representing the enlisted personnel’s views and concerns to the commander. They enhance communication and foster a better understanding of the needs and viewpoints of all members.
The symposium ended with closing remarks from Hecker and the CSEL conference wrap-up. “NATO and its air forces are facing a very dynamic security environment, one that recently has become more complex, fast moving and demanding,” he said. “We continue to address these issues and provide assurance to our alliance and to partners.”