NATO air forces remain strong, look to future excellence

Master Sgt. Chuck Roberts
USAFE Public Affairs

NATO air forces’ partnership is strong and poised to grow even stronger
over the long haul, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael
Moseley during his Oct. 3 to 5 visit to Ramstein before a congregation
of air force commanders from 25 NATO nations.

General Moseley said NATO air forces face similar circumstances,
including increasing costs, decreasing budgets and the need to
recapitalize and modernize aging aircraft inventories, and a changed
international security environment since the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks. So he described some of the U.S. and NATO efforts to transform
the way Airmen train and fight alongside each other.

He cited NATO successes with Air Policing in the Baltics, the
International Security Assistance Force providing close air support in
Afghanistan, and NATO airmen poised to support the NATO Response Force
in regional hotspots such as Africa.

“Though we have some new NATO member countries, we maintain common
bonds as Airmen and as NATO partners, and the NATO alliance may be even
more important today than it was during the Cold War,” said General
Moseley, citing the long Global War on Terrorism and emerging
trans-national threats as reasons that “add urgency to our efforts to
increase interoperability among our nations and air forces.”

Yet there remains a need for continuous improvement in areas such as
the interoperability and modernization of the associated NATO-wide Air
Command and Control System.

Also, NATO looks to combined training opportunities such as the
Tactical Leadership Program conducted in Belgium to further hone the
warfighting skills of NATO airmen.

“We will continue to look for new ways to strengthen and reinforce
partnerships with our NATO counterparts, and new ways to collectively
bring kinetic and non-kinetic effects to bear faster and with more
precision,” said General Moseley.

Such strength and versatility is necessary, the general said, noting
the demand NATO faces in confronting an enemy not from a nation-state,
but one that can emerge anytime, anyplace through terrorist acts such
as the bombing of Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia or the U.S. Embassy in
Thus far, General Moseley said, NATO has risen to the challenge and will continue to do so.

“It’s a given that our air forces will always be there,” the general
said. “Our forces are strategic and global in nature and there are no
boundaries or barriers to prevent us from further success against enemy
terrorists, regardless of tactics or terrain they choose to follow.

We are all looking for ways to reinforce the impact air power can
have for a nation and the NATO alliance. Together we stand strong.”