NY Air Guard Air War Experts Participate in Nordic Air Region Conference

  • Published
  • By Eric Durr
  • 152nd Air Operations Group

COPENHAGEN, Denmark--Three New York Air National Guardsmen who specialize in planning and executing air war campaigns took part in a four-day workshop in January designed to ensure that the militaries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland all know what’s flying in the skies above their region.

The New York Airmen, all assigned to the 152nd Air Operations Group, based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, were part of a U.S. military delegation which included the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps as well U.S. Air Forces Europe.

Two Airmen from the Michigan Air National Guard’s 217th Air Operations Group also took part in the conference.

The goal, according to Col. Kevin St. John, the commander of the 152nd, was to explore the ways to connect the radars and sensors of the Nordic nations with NATO and United States systems.

The idea, he said, was to create a common picture of what is flying in the region, first and then expand the capability to share information.

The January 23-27 meeting in Copenhagen was hosted by the Royal Danish Air Force and the U.S. Air Forces Europe. Seventy people attended to discuss improving the regional partnership in support of unified network of sensors from all the services operating in the region.

This concept is known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2.

The discussions also included integrating air and missile defense information as well, according to St. John.

While Norway and Denmark are both NATO members, Sweden and Finland just applied for membership in 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This was the first time those two countries took part in these discussions, St. John said.

Their inclusion in the workshop built on that process, he added.

“This conference was executed at exactly the right time in both of our planning cycles to mutually inform and highlight all the parties on the benefits and needs of collaboration,” said Major Ignazio Perez, the multi-domain warfare officer for the 217th.

“The event outlined milestones for-bi-lateral sensor sharing arrangements, connections and their use to improve interoperability,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Schafer, the 152nd Air Communications Squadron commander.

These efforts allow the allied air forces to plug in the U.S. Air Force’s Mission Partner Environment, a term for computer networks which allow different militaries to t work collaboratively and effectively and to share sensitive, classified information securely, Schafer said.

The discussions highlighted the need for more international training and exercise opportunities, according to Col. John Meili, the deputy commander of the 152nd Air Operations Group.

“These expanded opportunities strengthen the foundational trust and relationships necessary to facilitate strategic partnerships,” Meili said.
The demand for Air National Guard operational, intelligence, and communication support for operations in Europe was also discussed, he said.

This creates “integrated deterrence,” St. John said.
This is the concept that the United States “uses every tool available in close collaborating with counterparts, allies and partners and is central to any future fight,” St. John explained.

“By balancing capabilities among partners, we can mitigate capacity gaps,” he said.