by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
4/21/2015 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Members
of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) gathered to commemorate another
year of success for the System of Cooperation Among the American Air
Forces, with a 54th birthday celebration April 16th.
SICOFAA began as a meeting of officers from 13 different countries in
1961, led by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas D. White, with the
goal of strengthening the bond between the Air Forces in the Western
"SICOFAA's primary mission is to promote and strengthen the ties of
friendship and the mutual support of its participants through the
sharing of common experiences, resources, the training and education of
its personnel," said Col. Alberto Moreno, SICOFAA Secretary General.
That first meeting evolved into an annual conference now known as the
Conference of the Air Chiefs of the Americas, abbreviated in Spanish as
CONJEFAMER, which has since grown to include 20 countries. There are
also five observer nations and two special guest organizations.
SICOFAA is permanent secretariat formed in 1965 and has since been
hosted by the U.S. Air Force. The deputy secretary general position
rotates amongst the other 20 Air Forces for two year tours in
alphabetical order of the country they represent.
Through the building of partner capacity members of SICOFAA are able to
work in a combined atmosphere where political and diplomatic channels
might be constrained. Even after more than 50 years, SICOFAA is
continuously expanding its reach, and has recently added Mexico as its
"Mexico became a member less than two years ago and will hosts this
year's Conference of American Chiefs, taking place this June in Mexico
City," said Capt. Kawika Berggren, SICOFAA executive officer.
Recently, SICOFAA has taken on a new focus of humanitarian assistance
and disaster response, partnership capacity building, and enhancing
interoperability between partner nations. The culmination of this focus
has been the establishment of doctrine on how SICOFAA member air forces
would operate cohesively during an actual HA/DR event.
"The SICOFAA member nations have now created and published the SICOFAA
Manual for Combined Air Operations in Humanitarian Support and Disaster
Relief," said Moreno. "It is a doctrine manual on how SICOFAA is to
participate in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations."
The Chilean earthquake of 2010 forced the SICOFAA members to realize the
need for closer coordination. Soon after, the organization held
exercise COOPERACION I, focusing on HA/DR. In April 2013, SICOFAA held
its second HA/DR exercise with COOPERACION II.
"Next year's HA/DR Exercise Cooperation III, will incorporate flying
units and will be held in Peru from April to May," Moreno said. "It is
an exciting time because 13 member nations are participating in
COOPERATION III, most of them with air assets."