Monday, April 06, 2015

AFGSC bomber force trains in Arctic, North Sea

Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

4/6/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Air Force Global Strike Command recently completed a pair of simultaneous long-range bomber missions in two geographic combatant commands, enabling units to become familiar with operating in different regions of the globe.

April 1-2, two B-52H Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and a pair from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., completed nonstop roundtrip sorties from their home stations on to the Arctic and North Sea regions, respectively.

Dubbed Polar Growl, the U.S. Strategic Command training mission was flown in support of both U.S. European Command and U.S. Northern Command and was specifically designed to demonstrate the United States' commitment to Allies and enhancement of regional security.

"These flights, demonstrating the credible and flexible ability of our strategic bomber force in internationally-recognized flight information regions, are the culmination of months of planning and coordination," said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander. "They are one of many ways we demonstrate interoperability, compliance with national and international protocols and due regard for the safety of all aircraft sharing the air space."

Polar Growl allowed the bomber aircrews to hone their navigation skills and enhanced their ability to work with Allied partners. The simultaneous flights also tested the bomber force's command and control apparatus' ability to support two synchronized flight paths. Additionally, bomber crews flying the North Sea route participated in dissimilar air intercept maneuvers with fighter aircraft flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

"The long-range nature of the mission, coupled with the opportunity to interact, in real-time, with Allied aircraft was an invaluable experience that simply can't be replicated out of the cockpit," said Maj. Nathan Barnhart, a 343rd Bomb Squadron instructor radar navigator at Barksdale. "Training like this ensures we are ready to respond to any and all mission directives across the globe."

Bomber crews on the Arctic leg of the mission transited around the North Pole, providing the crews invaluable training in polar navigation. They also conducted dissimilar air intercept maneuvers with Royal Canadian Air Force fighters.

"There are a rare number of opportunities to practice Polar Navigation. The training that the crews received from the Polar Growl mission was invaluable," said the 5th Operations Support Squadron's nuclear operations center chief at Minot. "We continue to update the knowledge base of the crew force through squadron and operation discussions of these events to share experiences and techniques to keep the sword sharp in the many mission sets the B-52 Stratofortress is responsible for."

From active-duty and reserve aircrews, maintainers, and support personnel generating and controlling the bomber missions, to active-duty and Air National Guard refueling, each of the two legs of Polar Growl provided unique training opportunities for the Total Force.

"This is a great Total Force Enterprise mission bringing unparalleled experience to reserve aircrew operating in conjunction with active duty aircrew while demonstrating interoperability and readiness to our Allies around the world," said Lt. Col. Robert Burgess, 343rd Bomb Squadron commander. "TFE is a way to bring the smallest, oldest and busiest Air Force together to maintain the capabilities necessary for demands of today's operational tempos."

The United States regularly conducts combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with Allies and partners. The combined training provided in Polar Growl follows the participation of B-52s in NATO Exercise Noble Justification in October and the deployment of B-52s and B-2s to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, in June, both of which provided occasions to train alongside U.S. Allies and partners.

"Today's dynamic global security environment is an interdependent world where international partnerships are foundational," Haney said. "Exercises and operations such as these bomber flights enable and enhance relationships with our Allies and partners, and allow others to understand what capabilities U.S. Strategic Command brings to the equation."

The B-52 is capable of delivering large payload of precision nuclear or conventional ordnance over long ranges, while also providing decision makers the ability to rapidly project military power and generate decisive effects.

"Polar Growl was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the awesome capability of the B-52," said a 69th Bomb Squadron pilot from Minot who participated in the mission. "The maintainers, support personnel and aircrew did an excellent job showcasing the BUFF's ability to project combat power anywhere in the world."

Polar Growl was not directed at any country. To enhance regional safety and to prevent any chance of misunderstanding, U.S. forces conduct these flights in accordance with the procedures outlined in the International Civil Aviation Organization international standards and recommended practices.

(U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs, Senior Airman Benjamin Raughton, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs; and Senior Airman Malia Jenkins, Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs, contributed to this report.)

Carter Discusses U.S. Rebalance to Asia-Pacific Region

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2015 – U.S. re-emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region makes sense regionally and globally, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at Arizona State University today.

The secretary spoke at the John McCain Institute in Tempe, Arizona, as the first part of a trip that takes him to Japan, South Korea and Hawaii.

The secretary’s speech aimed to push for quick passage of the Trade Promotion Authority for President Barack Obama, “so that he can ensure America gets the best deal in a historic new trade agreement with eleven other Asia-Pacific countries: the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Carter stressed that while the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region has a military component, it is a whole-of-government approach. Since World War II, the United States has underwritten security in the region. This has allowed nations like Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and China to develop and thrive.

Decades-old Alliances

America is a Pacific power and will remain one, Carter said, noting that the United States will continue to engage with nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Carter said his stops in Japan and South Korea highlight the importance of America’s decades-old alliances with both countries.

But the United States is doing more, he added. The newest and most capable weapons systems will go first to the region. When movements are completed, he said, 60 percent of the U.S. fleet will be in the Pacific-Indian Ocean area. U.S. Marines already have a rotational presence in Australia, Carter said, and U.S. and Filipino authorities are working on ways to strengthen military-to-military cooperation.

To secure its enduring interests in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States is “changing, too, with our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific,” Carter said.

The Asia-Pacific region is experiencing economic growth, and the United States must have access to those markets, the secretary said. He noted that more than half of the Earth’s population will live in the region by 2050. Over the next 15 years, he added, there will be rapid middle-class growth across the Asia-Pacific, to the point that it will make up “60 percent of global middle-class consumption.”

Democracies Increase in Asia-Pacific Region

The American presence has helped shape the region, said Carter, noting there’s been a fourfold increase in the number of democracies in the region.

“Following our lead, countries across the Asia-Pacific have also embraced free and open commerce, fidelity to the rule of law, and a rules-based international order,” the secretary said.

American strengths in security, economy and diplomacy “are multiplied by America’s unrivaled network of allies and partners -- nations both in the region and around the world who seek our friendship, not because of our power alone or through coercion, but because of the gravitational pull of our ideals, values, and goodwill,” Carter said. “These ties, tended to with careful diplomacy, are what make America’s global strength so unique throughout history and today.”

The secretary said he wants to expand the reach of these alliances and for America’s allies in the Asia-Pacific region to do more together. Carter said the United States is working with Japan and South Korea to build an information-sharing arrangement, adding that the United States is working with Australia and Japan to strengthen maritime security.

And the United States is working with India, Carter said.

“In January, we agreed to an update of our bilateral Defense Framework -- the first update in 10 years,” he said. “It will open up new ways to expand the U.S.-India relationship, such as on maritime security, and new opportunities to cooperate on high-end technologies, for example, jet engines and aircraft carrier design.”

China’s Influence in the Asia-Pacific Region

Carter then discussed China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific.

“Some people would have you believe that China will displace America in the Asia-Pacific or that its economic growth will somehow squeeze out opportunities,” he said. “But I reject the zero-sum thinking that China’s gain is our loss because there is another scenario in which everyone wins -- and it is a continuation of the decades of peace and stability anchored by a strong American role, in which all Asia-Pacific countries continue to rise and prosper. This is the scenario we seek in the ongoing rebalance.”

Yet, many observers are concerned about the scope of China’s military modernization efforts, China’s actions in cyberspace, and Chinese behavior in the East and South China Seas, the secretary said.

“These are concerns we raise with our Chinese counterparts on a regular basis,” he said.

Carter then turned to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “As secretary of defense, I never forget that our military strength ultimately rests on the foundation of our vibrant, unmatched and growing economy,” he said. “[The Trans-Pacific Partnership] is so important because of its enormous promise for jobs and growth across our nation’s economy. It is expected to increase U.S. exports by $125 billion in the next decade, supporting high-quality jobs.”

While good for jobs, the partnership also makes strategic sense, the secretary said.

“In terms of our rebalance in the broadest sense, passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier,” Carter said. “TPP would deepen our alliances and partnerships abroad and underscore our lasting commitment to the Asia-Pacific. And it would help us promote a global order that reflects both our interests and our values.”

ANG Safety Models Airlines “Just Culture” Programs

by Dan Polanosky
ANG Safety Office

4/3/2015 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- At the invitation of the Air National Guard Director of Safety, representatives from United Airlines recently visited the ANG Readiness Center.

The purpose of their visit was to share best practices and recent innovations related to the carrier's Safety Management System and Aviation Safety Action Program, both of which are based on the notion of "just culture" safety reporting.

Lt Col Dave Paulsgrove, a United Airlines pilot currently on military leave as he serves with the Air National Guard safety directorate, coordinated the visit. Paulsgrove serves as manager of the ANG's proactive flight safety programs, which include SMS and ASAP, among others. This visit by United Airlines officials comes on the heels of a recent ANG Safety visit to American Airlines to discuss implementation of similar program there.

Like many ANG pilots who pull double duty as commercial pilots, Paulsgrove has witnessed the positive safety impact of an effective ASAP and was a vocal proponent of bringing SMS to the Air Force as well.

"The opportunity to bring together both sides of my aviation career, military and civilian, in the name of safety is definitely a career highlight." said Paulsgrove.

United Airlines boasts an industry-leading, fully matured Safety Management System that directly led to fewer safety mishaps.  Like many airlines, United instituted SMS following a mandate by the Federal Aviation Administration for scheduled air carriers to adopt the program.  Recently, the United States Air Force followed suit.

"ANG airmen have unmatched private sector connections due to their parallel civilian/military career tracks." said Col Edward Vaughan, Director of Safety. "This remains a largely untapped resource for the Air Force.  Leveraging those unique connections in forums like this helps position the ANG at the leading edge of Air Force safety practice."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the goal of an SMS is to improve safety by addressing underlying organizational issues that may result in accidents or incidents. 

United officials shared ways to launch an SMS program.  They explained that a mature SMS includes an organization-wide safety policy; formal methods for proactively identifying hazards, controlling, and continually assessing risk; and promotion of a safety culture.

"Safety promotion is a crucial part of an SMS." said Paulsgrove. "This helps create a Just Culture philosophy that encourages the reporting of threats and errors by front line employees without the fear of punishment or criticism."

As a part of Just Culture, United Airlines established an industry-leading Aviation Safety Action Program, which touches every employee division and is only one of three U.S. airlines that have a fully functional Ground Safety Action Program.

The ANG operates more than16 aircraft types, ranging from the Air Force F-22 Raptor to C-17 Loadmaster III, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft, there is a pressing requirement to employ such a program across all ANG operated aircraft, as well as non-flying missions. Likewise, it is critical to employ the expertise of civilian field experts to ensure an effective program is implemented.

Alaska is home to many potential threats; be prepared for them

by Tech. Sgt. Raymond Mills
JBER Public Affairs

4/6/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- They are there when you need them. The personnel of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Emergency Management office work hard planning for, mitigating and responding to emergencies that may result in death, injury, destruction of property, or disruption in operations.

"The primary mission of the Air Force Emergency Management Program is to save lives, minimize the loss or degradation of resources, and sustain and restore operational capability in hazardous environments at Air Force installations worldwide," said Tech. Sgt. Leslie Baxter, JBER Emergency Management noncommissioned officer in charge of plans and operations.

Being prepared for contingency operations is a must, and the military is no different.
The Air Force EM program examines potential emergencies and disasters based on risks posed by likely hazards, develops and implements programs aimed at reducing the impact of such events, prepares for risks that cannot be eliminated, and prescribes actions required to deal with consequences of actual events and to recover from those events, Baxter said.

Baxter said in addition to their primary mission, emergency management technicians maintain ancillary missions that include support of homeland defense, civil support operations, and support to civil and host nation authorities in accordance with Department of Defense directives.

Preparedness is crucial to mitigating disasters, since emergencies can happen at any time with little or no warning.

Alaska has several natural and man-made hazards which give little or no notice, include earthquakes, windstorms, wildfires, volcanoes, floods, hazardous-materials spills and house fires.

"We have to be ready for the 'what if' situation," said Jilene Reichle, JBER emergency management plans and operations specialist.

JBER emergency managers must have plans ready to deal with a variety of natural disasters in Alaska, such as the 1964 earthquake.

According to the Alaska Earthquake Center, the 9.2-magnitude earthquake was the second-largest ever recorded and lasted about four minutes. It devastated 1.3 million square kilometers, killed 115 Alaskans and resulted in approximately $300 to $400 million in damage.

"The quake of '64 helped bring the reality that disasters do actually happen here," Reichle said.

The JBER Emergency Management Office sets-up base-wide drills and routinely travels off base to remind people to prepare for disasters.

The American Red Cross recommends maintaining an emergency preparedness kit in the event of disaster. Kits should be tailored to threats associated with your area, but still contain the basics.

The Red Cross suggests the following items as a basic preparedness kit:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day; three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home

  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items; three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home

  • Flashlight and/or lantern

  • Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio (NOAA weather radio, if possible)

  • Extra batteries

  • First aid kit

  • Medications (seven-day supply) and medical items

  • Multi-purpose tool

  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items

  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

  • Cell phone with chargers

  • Family and emergency contact information

  • Extra cash

  • Emergency blanket

  • Map(s) of the area
Although the average emergency preparedness kit should have preparations for three days, the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website suggests a seven-day supply.

Once assembled, emergency preparedness kits should be put in a safe and accessible location.

According to the Center for Disease Control, emergency kits should be checked periodically throughout the year for expired dates on food, medicine and batteries.

"It's not a matter of 'if' disaster will strike," Reichle said. "It's a matter of 'when'."

Ramstein, Mildenhall Airmen train above Germany

by Senior Airman Damon Kasberg
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/2/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- A KC-135 Stratotanker aircrew from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, supported the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron's deployment to Europe by providing aerial refueling to A-10 Thunderbolt IIs above Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 23 to 27.

During their week-long visit to Ramstein, the aircrew refueled more than 20 A-10s, honing their ability to keep aircraft flying.

"Our main goal here is fueling the A-10s for their deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve," said Capt. Bobby Stanford, 100th Air Refueling Wing pilot. "It's been really successful. Everyday we've been able to refuel aircraft so they can complete their mission."

Inside the KC-135, co-pilots took part in the natural progression of their career field.

"Two of our pilots were also able to perform aircraft commander upgrade training," Stanford said. "It is required on-the-job training for a co-pilot to become an aircraft commander. As a co-pilot, your primary duty is to learn the aircraft and become proficient in flying. As an aircraft commander, you are required to take it a step further by becoming responsible for making decisions concerning the execution of the mission and ensuring the safety of everyone on board."

Pilots weren't the only ones training thousands of feet above Ramstein. Members of the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron also had the opportunity to train on board a KC-135 as it flew overhead.

"The KC-135 is one of the primary aircraft used by the Air Force for aeromedical evacuation," said Tech. Sgt. William Johnson, 86th AES aeromedical evacuation technician. "Ramstein doesn't have any assigned, but it's still vital that our flight nurses and aeromedical evacuation technicians are familiar with the aircraft and have the opportunity to exercise the aircraft specific requirements. This provides (the European Command) and (African Command) with aeromedical evacuation crew members who are always ready."

Airmen from the 100th ARW also learned more about aeromedical evacuation from working firsthand with the 86th AES.

"I've been out here doing aerial refueling, but a big portion has also been coordinating with the aeromedical teams," said Senior Airman DeVaughn Granger, 100th ARW boom operator. "The first day was eye opening because we don't see a lot of aeromedical missions. I've only worked with aeromedical teams twice in my four-year career. I was able to read my Air Force Instructions then see it in front of me. The experience really put one and one together."

The knowledge gained from this training not only developed Airmen, it also strengthens the United States' commitment to Europe, demonstrating its dedication to peace and stability in the region.

Pilots, ground forces exercise Forward Air Controller (Airborne) mission over Estonian

by 1st Lt Allie Delury
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/2/2015 - Ă„mari Air Base, Estonia -- At the invitation of the Estonian government, American pilots from the 510th Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, have a unique opportunity to learn the value of the Forward Air Control (Airborne) mission with Estonians from Amari Air Base and U.S. instructor pilots from Luke Air Force Base.

FAC(A)s provide control of both airborne and ground forces in a close air support role and work closely with the ground commander to coordinate ground targets and de-conflict air assets. This flying training event ensures that pilots gain valuable experience with low-level flying and work with Estonian Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the nearby Tapa Range.
"JTACs cannot be everywhere," said USMC Capt. Jonathan Bearce, F-16 Fighting Falcon exchange pilot. "A lot of things are happening on the ground and there are some inherent risks.
FAC(A)s can be that calm voice on the radio for that guy on the ground because he is in a bad situation."

Bearce is one of two U.S. FAC(A) instructor pilots from Luke Air Force Base working with 510th FS pilots in Estonia to ensure that the skillset is practiced and perfected. His previous experience as an AV-8B Harrier pilot brings a unique outlook on close air support missions to F-16 pilots.

"I enjoy bringing a little different perspective as a Marine pilot attached to an Air Force unit," said Bearce. "The students will all be better fighter pilots after going through the FAC(A) upgrade and it's always awesome to be a part of that."

Since the Vietnam War, qualifying F-16 pilots to become FAC(A)s has slowly diminished throughout the Air Force. Typically, units send FAC(A) students to the 310th Fighter Squadron for a month-long course at Luke AFB. At the request of the 510th FS, a Mobile Training Team was established to bring school house IPs to Estonia. By the end of the TDY, four pilots will be FAC(A) qualified and an additional three pilots will be FAC(A) qualified as IPs.

"I think it's great to have Luke AFB IPs out here who have a completely different perspective flying with students all the time," said Capt. Donald Davis, a 510th FS F-16 pilot who recently attended the FAC(A) course at Luke AFB. "With the Air Force constantly changing and the way things are moving, we'll be the ones who will have to keep this training going."
According to Bearce, the 510th FS is 1 of 6 F-16 squadrons that are required to be proficient in the FAC(A) mission.  Capt. Kalev Piirisild, an Estonia pilot and project officer for the Amari Air Base FTD, is helping pilots master this qualification.

Piirisild joined the flying academy in Estonia in 2006 and has always had an avid interest in other air forces and their CAS missions.
"For me, it's fairly easy to work with the U.S.," said Piirisild. "FAC(A) pilots are a really vital part of the mission, especially when you don't have people on the ground. Most FAC(A)s come from the A-10 community, but working with the 510th FS has been unique because they're an F-16 squadron."

Piirisild has been working with the 510th FS since early last year to plan this flying training event, and attributes its success to the professionalism and knowledge of the pilots.
"It's important to work with all NATO allies because if we ever go to war, we have to understand each other and understand how different nations function," said Piirisild. "The main mission is to enhance cooperation between the United States Air Force, NATO and Estonia."

With understanding cooperation on an international level comes the understanding of teamwork on a tactical level--which is why the FAC(A) mission remains a crucial skill to exercise in a foreign environment with ground forces.

"The JTAC and the FAC(A) are a team that brings a powerful punch to the battlefield," said Bearce.  "There has been nothing more rewarding in my career than working with a JTAC on the ground providing over-watch for him and his ground unit so they can go home to their families."

A-10s deploy to Romania for Operation Atlantic Resolve

by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/6/2015 - CAMPIA TURZII, Romania -- Twelve U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs deployed as a 90-day theater security package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve to Campia Turzii, Romania, March 30.

As part of the deployment, the U.S. and Romanian air forces will be flying together over the plateaus in the heart of Transylvania for Dacian Thunder 2015.

The U.S. Air Force's 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron's 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the Romanian air force's 71st Air Base's MiG-21 fighter aircraft will conduct the training to increase relations and interoperability while building upon both nations' joint capabilities and ensuring a stronger partnership.

About 200 Airmen and support equipment from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will participate as a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.

The A-10 supports Air Force missions around the world as part of the U.S. Air Force's current inventory of strike platforms, including F-15 and F-16s. As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the aircraft will later forward deploy to locations in to reassure Eastern European NATO countries.

"The TSP is another way the Air Force is increasing rotational presence in Europe to reassure our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, USAFE-AFAFRICA vice commander.

The theater security package serves as part of a routine deployment of additional fighter squadrons, support personnel and equipment aimed to bolster U.S. forces in Europe on a rotating basis. Theater security package rotations have been occurring in the Pacific region since 2004.

"The U.S. Air Force's forward presence in Europe provides the support infrastructure needed to increase our current force and build new and deeper partnerships across the continent," Jones said.

One of those deeper partnerships being enhanced will be with the 354th EFS's hosts in Romania.

"The men and women of the 354th EFS are excited to train and integrate with the Romanian air force, specifically the 71st Air Base here at Campia Turzii," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steven Behmer, 354th EFS commander. "Our intent is to make clear that the United States is committed to the security and stability of Eastern Europe and that we are committed to standing side-by-side with our NATO allies."

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa has conducted training events like this in Romania in the past, including the recent Dacian Warhawk 2015 between the Romanian Air Force and the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, as well as the previous Dacian Thunder with the A-10s in 2012.

"I'm sure we will achieve our objectives, will improve our proficiency to increase the interoperability of our air forces, and that the bonds between the American and Romanian air forces will tighten," said Romanian air force Cmdr. Marius Oatu, 71st Air Base commander. "Anytime I see the Stars and Stripes anywhere near our national flag, I'm sure that the outcome will be outstanding."

U.S. 3rd Fleet Hosts Staff Talks for Maritime Defense

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Kory Alsberry, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Kenny Floyd met with U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, commander, USCG Pacific Area (PACAREA), and Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. William Truelove, commander, Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC), March 31-April 1 for the sixth annual Three-Party Staff Talks (TPST).

TPST enable U.S. 3rd Fleet, PACAREA and MARPAC leadership to come together to discuss current and future maritime operations between their forces and to see the capabilities of various 3rd Fleet operational units while strengthening the relationship between the Navy, Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.

Staffs from each command participated in working groups that focused on maritime homeland security and defense, command, control, communications, computers and joint exercises.

"It's meetings and talks like these that build upon our joint interagency and international relationships that strengthen U.S. 3rd Fleet's ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of U.S. and its allies and partners." said Floyd.

Following two days of information sharing, a number of goals were discussed including enhancing relationships between the three partners, closing gaps in maritime homeland security and defense, strengthening joint-planning processes.

"Seeing first-hand the vast capabilities of the Navy and how they interact with the Coast Guard and our Canadian partners is a testament to the hard work these men and women put forth," said Ray. "These staff talks are an excellent opportunity to help bolster relations and assure maritime security through real-time interactions with Navy and partner nation commander counterparts."

While in San Diego the admirals also had the opportunity to tour the Littoral Combat Ship Training Facility, USS Freedom (LCS 1) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 1 units.

"The Three Party Staff Talks allow us to continue to build upon our long-standing partnerships, re-affirm our common goals, and seek out those opportunities where we can work together to ensure our collective security" said Truelove. "Given how closely we operate and exercise together, these talks, for me, take on great value."

Other topics of discussion included upcoming HA/DR exercises, fleet training exercises and missile defense.

"A key objective for the annual staff talks is to achieve seamless interoperability among the three parties," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Charlene Forgue, TPST action officer.

PACAREA is the Coast Guard's regional command element and force provider for maritime safety, security, and stewardship in the Pacific from the U.S. Western States to Asia, and from the Arctic to Antarctica.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.