HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
U.S. Air Force Special Operations School hosted multiple partner nation students from the African continent during a ‘Building Partner Aviation Capacity Seminar’ in the local area, 3-13 Dec.
BPACS is a two-week course that brings together partner-nation military personnel, U.S. civil servants and service members to discuss a variety of aviation-themed topics.
During this specific iteration, the focus was on partner nations within the African continent, such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
“[BPACS] is a relatively low-cost investment that makes a connection that can last for years or a lifetime,” said U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael Black, Chief of Strategy and Plans for the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs. “[The attending partner nation personnel] get to meet their counterparts that they may never have met before. They get to learn about how the U.S. operates in a given scenario of building air power capabilities.”
While the guests from partner nations are taught many things at the seminar, they are also given an opportunity to share their own experiences and solutions.
“There are a couple of table-top exercises that allow continued thought and dialog on how to solve a problem as a group,” said Black. “It’s really all about communication.”
While BPACS is meant to bolster partner nation aviation capacity, it also gets after the U.S. mission of building partners and allies.
“[The partner nation personnel] understand, ‘hey that country has the same problem. How did they fix it? How did they get after the issue? Let me go talk to them about it,’” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Leslie Dye, 492 Special Operations Group Superintendent. “Then they can help police their areas which ultimately helps us achieve our national strategic objectives.”
Both Black and Dye value the opportunity BPACS brings in building relationships and strengthening partner nation aviation capabilities.
“[BPACS] is one opportunity that the Air Force has found to be of value and important enough to keep maintaining it and repeating it year after year,” said Black.