USAFE, Bosnia, Herzegovina build partnerships through force development

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Branden Rae
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Four Airmen from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa conducted a force development program to enhance relations and share ideas of building a better air force with the Bosnia and Herzegovina air force, Feb. 10-14, 2020, here.

“The force development program is a means to do defense intuition building,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Ricardo Trimillos, USAFE - AFAFRICA A5/8/9 deputy director, plans, programs, and analysis. “At the end of the day, the entire focus is on interoperability, whether they are a NATO partner, an aspiring NATO partner, or someone that potentially is part of a coalition of the willing. The idea is that if we all understand how each other operates then we will be able to have an ease of communication and will be able to understand how we want to be able to work together.”

The force development program provides an opportunity for the U.S. Air Force to enhance relations, share ideas and build partnership capability in the region.

“Through open discussions with BiH, we’re able to talk about our common interests and challenges, and we also use the opportunity to brainstorm together about ways to improve our organizations and ways to cooperate,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. David Max, Inter-European Air Forces Academy commandant. “We, as the U.S. Air Force, learned that our challenges, ranging from manpower to education and training, are not unique, and the BiH learned that they’re not alone when it comes to developing proposals to improve their Air Force.”

Sharing thoughts and ideas from both the U.S. Air Force and BiH air force strengthens current partner ties. 

“Whenever you talk about a partnership you have to continually engage,” said Trimillos. “ The U.S. Air Force continually engages with our partners in either through different functions wither through training, medical, personnel, operations, flight training, and force development programs all of those are touch points in order to be able to continue a relationship with another country.”

One of the ways the U.S. Air Force engages with partner counties is providing the opportunity for joint trainings.

“The IEAFA conducts education and training courses for NATO and Partnership for Peace members, and our vision is to develop lifelong ties among allies and partners,” said Max. “IEAFA had its first students from BiH in a course last year. Since we had worked together before, our existing relationship made it easier to hit the ground running here.”

BiH air force airmen have participated in many training courses offered by the U.S. Air Force and was brought up many times during the force development program.

“One example is a proposal BiH made to develop their own educational institutions based on one of our models,” said Max. “By doing so, we can help them take the necessary steps needed to build their own capacities suited to their air force.”

Through deliberate conversations and open discussions, representatives from USAFE - AFAFRICA and BiH were able to continue to strengthen their partnerships and increase their interoperability to work together in the future.