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Russian military experts conduct CFE inspection at Incirlik

USAFE News Service

Release Date: 09 May 2003

By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Tredway, 39th Wing Public Affairs

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (USAFENS) -- A team of Russian military experts inspected Incirlik's compliance with the Conventional Armed Forces Europe Treaty May 7 for the first time since the treaty was adopted in 1992.

The treaty, which permits short notice, very intrusive inspections, was signed at the end of the cold war to reduce the large numbers of conventional forces the eastern block had over the western block countries.

"So far about 70,000 pieces of equipment such as combat aircraft, helicopters, tanks, artillery and armored personnel carriers, have been destroyed," said Capt. Antonio Trigo, 39th Wing treaty compliance officer. "It eliminates the possibility of surprise large-scale attacks and offensives and increases cooperation and dialogue between former political opponents. It prevents hostility and suspicion between countries of different ideology."

The treaty sets a numerical limit on military equipment that signatory countries can deploy in different regions of Europe. Countries must continually report changes in the number of equipment or personnel in specific regions and bases.

While here, the team inspected protected aircraft shelters, Hodja Village, hangars and Turkish facilities to count and verify the treaty-limited equipment on base and see if it matches the numbers the base reported.

"There was no treaty-limited equipment here, and no discrepancies were reported by the Russians," Trigo said. "We do have an A-10 ground instructional trainer here that was reduced and no longer counts as a combat aircraft. They ensured it is in compliance with the treaty. Some mounting points for the engine were cut off as a gesture of good faith though the treaty does not require that action."

To make sure the inspection went smoothly, the Department of Defense sent three liaison officers from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to escort the Russians and represent the United States.

"The liaison officers relied on local escorts to give them safety briefings, site layout expertise, directions to different facilities, operations security considerations and to help manage, control and escort the Russian inspectors," Trigo said.

HQ USAFE Program Planning Division also sent a three-person arms control team with extensive CFE expertise to assist with the wings final preparations.

In addition since Incirlik is a Turkish base, the Turkish Verification Agency also sent escorts to help the 10th Tanker Wing prepare and conduct the inspection.

"Our Turkish hosts provided outstanding support for the 39th Wing by providing lodging, meals and transportation for the Russians," Trigo said. "I'd like to thank Turkish Air Force Capt. Cuneyt Canbolat, 10th Tanker wing treaty officer for the great coordination, support, and hospitality.

"A total team effort is required to make a CFE inspection successful," he continued. "Logistical preparation and training throughout the year is the only way to be ready. It's not possible to wait until we are sure if they are coming here to start preparations and have a successful inspection. Thanks to everyone on team Incirlik who assisted and made our first CFE inspection a complete success.

"The success of the inspection was a testament to U.S. and Turkish teamwork at Incirlik," Canbolat added. "Especially since this was our first. Our continued cooperation will ensure success in the future."

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