Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) virtually hosted the Air Force Section Chief Theater Security Cooperation Workshop for Department of Defense and Department of State participants in 21 countries Jan. 11-13, 2021.
“The AFSEC workshop brings together Security Cooperation Office Air Force section chiefs from U.S. Embassies throughout the U.S. Southern Command area of operations to discuss theater cooperation strategy with key enablers and stakeholders in the security cooperation enterprise.” said Maj. Scott Vaughn, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) Theater Security Cooperation Division chief.
Throughout the workshop briefers discussed various types of security cooperation, focusing on operations, activities, and investments for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023.
Eighteen Air Force section chiefs attended, providing input to 200 participants on air component support to the strategic coordination panel, women, peace, and security, operations, activities, and investments, joint coordination, space activities, intelligence engagements, counter narcotic operations, aerial events, joint exercises, international legal events, and state partnership programs.
The workshop included key personnel from USSOUTHCOM, various divisions within Air Forces Southern, the 571st Mobility Support Advisory Squadron, the National Guard Bureau, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, Army South, Naval Forces Southern Command, Marine Forces Southern, Joint Interagency Task Force-South, and Joint Task Force-Bravo.
“Security cooperation is a type of security assistance that is administered by the Department of Defense. These would involve any DOD activities that include interaction with the security establishment of a partner nation to build capacities, provide access, or to build relationships.” Vaughn explained.
There are many different types of security cooperation. The most notable programs include foreign military sales, foreign military financing, training, equipping, operational support, defense institution building, humanitarian assistance, exercises, and subject matter expert exchanges.
“Security cooperation is arguably the best and most important tool that we have to advance American foreign policy abroad. Strengthening partner nations is key to implementing our National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy by providing regional stability and mitigating the drivers of conflict.” Vaughn said. “For this reason, security cooperation is the backbone of the USSOUTHCOM Strategy.”
Col. Todd White, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) A5/8/9 director, gave closing remarks Wednesday, thanking participants and reinforcing the strategic importance of the conference. White called it a critical piece of the puzzle that pulls all the right players into one forum and sets the stage for how 12th Air Force conducts operations, activities, and investments over the next two years.
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) is headquartered at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.