Military cooperation builds bridges between nations says Zambia air force commander

Zambia: Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Commander, Lt Gen Colin Barry, has said military cooperation was key to building bridges of friendship between nations necessary for the promotion of world peace and security.

He also said peace and security can be achieved through collective efforts and the shared commitment of nations to fostering collaborations.

Lt Gen Barry noted that aviation was a symbol of freedom, progress, and connectivity, transcending borders and uniting people around the world.

The Air Force Commander made the remarks in Lusaka on Tuesday, 6 June 2023, at the Ciela Bonanza Resort Hotel when he officially opened the 2023 African Partnership Flight Conference on strategic military partnerships.

The conference, which is being co-hosted by the United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) and the Zambia Air Force, will run for three days.

Lt Gen Barry observed that security challenges transcend national boundaries in today’s complex and interconnected world and that no single nation can confront these challenges in isolation.

“The African Partnership Flight is not just about military cooperation, but it is about building bridges between nations, fostering trust, understanding and embracing the diversity that defines Africa. It is through collaboration and exchange of expertise that we can overcome the obstacles that impede progress and threaten stability. The African Partnership Flight serves as a catalyst for this collaboration, bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds to collectively address common security concerns like we are gathered here today,” said Lt Gen Barry.

Image credit: Zambia Air Force facebook page

He further told delegates that military campaigns and peace support operations were inherently complex endeavours that required meticulous planning, coordination and execution to attain the desired end-states.

He cited the requirement for a well-functioning logistical framework to provide an essential lifeline that sustains and empowers forces on the ground and in the air.

The Air Force Commander added that multilateral military engagement enables the pooling of resources, expertise and capabilities, thereby enhancing the collective ability to overcome logistical challenges.

In an era marked by increasing global interdependence, the ZAF Commander noted that no single nation can single-handedly address the intricate demands of modern deployments.

Lt Gen Barry further stated that by forging partnerships and engaging in multilateral cooperation, nations can optimize their logistical capabilities, streamline processes and leverage the strengths of each participating nation.

Image credit: Zambia Air Force facebook page

“I urge you all to interact and open conversations firming on issues of multinational planning, coordination of operations as well as personnel welfare in accordance with the efforts for the African Partnership Flight,” the Air Force Commander advised.

Meanwhile, the Chief of the International Affairs Division at US Air Forces in Africa, Col Beth Lane, noted that logistics and sustainment during operations were identified as obstacles to deployments throughout the continent.

She said there was a need to share experiences on how partner Air Forces in the region could improve such processes to enhance safe operations and security.

Col Lane stated that through conversations with USA Air Forces partner nations in Southern Africa, logistics and sustainment were identified as obstacles to deployments throughout the continent.

She added that countries need to leverage their experiences and best practices to create regional solutions that will prime the forces for success.

“It is for this reason that my team is here to share our processes which have proven successful with our partner countries around the globe”, said Col Lane.

Image credit: Zambia Air Force facebook page

She reiterated that through sharing experiences and jointly developing solutions to challenges, operations can be improved to support operations and save lives.

The African Partnership Flight Conference is a multilateral military-to-military engagement and security assistance event intended to strengthen the United States’ strategic partnerships with key countries in Africa, share ideas on aviation-related topics and enhance regional cooperation and interoperability.

The USAFE-AFAFRICA has, in the past, co-hosted the African Partnership Flight with countries such as Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tunisia, to mention but a few. This year’s conference has attracted Ten Air Forces that include the United States of America, Tanzania, Burundi, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eswatini, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

The discussions will focus on deployment processing, deployment logistical sustainment, and post-deployment support functions of air forces during and after operations.

Amelia Jones

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