First joint airspace conference takes place in Iraq.
In an attempt to better use the airspace over Iraq, members of the Multi-National Corps--Iraq held the Airspace Interoperability Synchronization Conference at Camp Victory, Iraq, May 30. As members of the Multi-National Corps--Iraq joint fires and effects cell, air and missile defense team service members, in concert with other entities, are responsible for executing airspace command and control as well as air and missile defense within the Iraq theater of operations.
In addition, the joint fires and effects cell/air and missile defense cell is the nerve center for all Army air and missile defense data link communications in Iraq. Its coordination and integration with the Air Force's control and reporting center, Balad Air Base, Iraq; the Marine's tactical air operations center, al Assad, Iraq; and theater air defense airspace management systems is critical for successful airspace management and deconfliction. With that kind of responsibility, the subject matter experts in the different airspace career fields decided to have a face-to-face conference to discuss and assess the current procedures and determine how to conduct operations more smoothly.
It's rare to have all the different organizations in one area to coordinate and plan the various operations, so this was an important opportunity. The conference allowed the attendees to gage where they are in airspace command and control, and air and missile defense, and find ways to make the processes more efficient and more effective.
The goal for the two-day conference was to continue to improve joint tactics, techniques and procedures, while fostering and encouraging teamwork among the services and developing personal relationships focused on integrating assets and capabilities to form strong joint alliances.
"Nothing substitutes being able to sit at a table and being able to trade ideas with the other people who are doing the same job you are doing on a daily basis," said Major Richard Ramsey, joint interface control officer at the Combined Air Operations Center. "Ultimately this will make things run even more efficiently out there in the theater."
After the conference, participants can examine the topics and solutions from the gathering and use the lessons learned in other commands and theaters. The lessons learned in Iraq can be applied in Afghanistan and any other operational environment in future conflicts. They could become the benchmark for coordinating airspace jointly.
By SSG Tim Beckham
U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs