Treaty office ensures wing in compliance

  • Published
  • By Dave Ehnis
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Treaty Compliance Office
The Spangdahlem Treaty Compliance Office is responsible for ensuring U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa units in central Europe comply with all arms control agreements.  These responsibilities include the planning, preparation and training of all USAFE-AFAFRICA units in the region. The office is a one-person regional office with a base alternate.

There are several arms control treaties in effect and are intended to foster a more stable environment in post-Cold War Europe. The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty, or CFE, most directly impacts Spangdahlem Air Base.

The treaty limits the number of personnel, tanks, artillery pieces, armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft and attack helicopters that each participating country can have within Europe. The F-16s assigned to the wing are accountable under this treaty.

The United States may be inspected two times within this treaty year by the former Soviet Bloc countries. One of the two passive inspections must be in either Germany or Italy while the other must be conducted in the U.K. It is a USAFE requirement that we conduct a CFE inspection exercise on an annual basis.

The 2015 inspection exercise will be conducted on Sept. 16, 2015. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) provides the U.S. national escorts. This exercise will provide training not only for the base but is also used as a training vehicle for DTRA and foreign NATO inspectors. This years' guest NATO inspectors will be from the Benelux Arms Control Agency (BACA) which consists of Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg arms control personnel.

The Open Skies Treaty was signed in Helsinki, Finland, March 24, 1992. The treaty establishes a regime of observation flights to verify member countries' compliance with other arms control treaties, which in turn, fosters trust and confidence. Unarmed observation aircraft, equipped with still and video cameras, infrared devices and side-looking radar are used for this mission.

The Vienna Document also allows members to inspect and evaluate other member's units. This agreement allows other member countries of the Vienna Document agreement to get a closer look at how our forces train and operate on a daily basis. The emphasis of this agreement is more towards operational processes than accounting for aircraft which is the emphasis of CFE.

The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. The treaty came into force April 29, 1997, and is the most detailed arms control treaty to date. 

These are just a few examples of the arms control treaties which directly impact the command daily. Professionalism with a sense of openness at the same time ensuring OPSEC is the watch-word for any treaty inspection and the daily operating practice of the regional treaty office.

To contact the Treaty Compliance Office, call Dave Ehnis 452-7415 or the 52 FW Alternate Treaty Compliance Officer, William Perry at 452-4681.