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Global Air Chiefs Conference hosts second air chiefs forum

by 1st Lt Lindsey Hahn
Global Air Chiefs Conference Public Affairs

9/26/2007 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Air chiefs from three countries offered presentations at the second air chiefs forum held Sept. 25 as part of the Global Air Chiefs Conference in Washington. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Maj. Gen. Ng Chee Khern and Gen. Ricardo Ortego Perrier presented their observations and concerns for air power, including effectively communicating the importance of air power, establishing synergy among friendly air forces and building trust among partners.  Air Chief Marshal Sir Torpy is the Royal Air Force chief of staff, General Ng is the Republic of Singapore air force chief and General Perrier is the Chilean air force commander in chief.

Building interoperability and synergy among partners was a main theme throughout all three presentations. 

"As the RSAF was established, interoperability was a necessity, not a choice," said General Ng. He continued by emphasizing that necessity for all of the air forces. 

"The challenges we face today do not respect boundaries, whether it be terrorism or natural disasters," General Ng said. 

In order to succeed, we must foster mutual understanding, trust and confidence with our partners, he said. 

General Ortega seconded General Ng in his presentation by emphasizing the need to integrate doctrine, concepts and definitions among partners while understanding and respecting differences. 

One barrier to synergy he touched on was language and standardized vocabulary, even among English-speaking countries. 

When he was a junior lieutenant, a British airman calling the wheels of an aircraft an "undercarriage" while an American Airmen called the same thing "landing gear" intrigued him, especially since they were both speaking common English, General Ortega said. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Torpy also weighed in on the importance of communication. 

We must communicate the airpower message in simple terms that people can understand, he said.

"None of this is rocket science, but we need to do better if we want to maintain what we all believe is a very important capability," Air Chief Marshal Torpy said.

The forum concluded with a story from General Ortega about friendship. 

While at this conference, a former American Airman sought him out because he knew his father, who was also a Chilean general, during the World War II era, he said . 

"Friendship between airmen can last for decades, and maybe, 50 years from now, one of your sons will have a similar conversation with a fellow airman who met you at this conference," said General Ortega.

A third forum, scheduled for Sept. 26, will feature five air chiefs, including General Ortega, Air Chief Marshal Torpy and General Ng, who will be joined by two air chiefs who made their presentations Sept. 24, Air Vice Marshall Julius Boateng and Maj. Gen. Mohammed Bin Swaiden. Air Vice Marshall Boateng is the Ghana air force air chief and General Bin Swaiden is the air defense commander from the United Arab Emirates. 

The host of the GACC, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, invited retired Gen. John P. Jumper,  and Lt. Gen. Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein, from Jordan, to moderate the final forum, designed for the air chiefs to field questions about their presentations. General Mosley is the U.S. Air Force chief of staff and General Jumper is a former U.S. Air Force chief of staff.

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