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US, Mongolia Air Forces Initiate Steps for Greater Engagement

By Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders | Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs | April 19, 2018

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- U.S. and Mongolia air forces discussed opportunities for future engagement between the two services at a recent Land Forces Talks (LFT) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia March 26-28.

The Mongolian Air Force Command (AFC), a newly separated force of the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF), requested Airman-to-Airman (A2A) talks with Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) to bring the two air forces closer together and strengthen their skills and relationships.

PACAF holds A2A talks with partner nations to discuss, plan and coordinate goals, objectives and activities for the next three to five years. The talks provide an avenue to develop interoperability, foster military-to-military relations and improve bilateral cooperation. PACAF currently participates in bilateral air force talks with 13 nations.

Maj. Christine Carr, PACAF Mongolia country director, represented PACAF at the LFT and spoke with the Mongolian AFC about the potential for future talks.

“It has been a unique experience to work with the newly separated air force as we work toward common objectives,” Carr said.

The MAF maintains an active role in world affairs focused on national defense, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations. In support of the United Nations peacekeeper missions, they have deployed approximately 4,800 personnel in the last 13 years.

“The change [to an independent force] allows the air force to develop in the same manner as air forces of many other countries,” said Mongolian AFC Col. T. Ganbat, chief of operations. “Within a very short period of time, we could develop our relationship with air forces of other countries.”

Developing an air force is one of U.S. Pacific Command’s priorities for greater engagement with Mongolia, and part of the command’s overall goal to assist the Mongolian Armed Forces pursue their defense reform priorities.

“Mongolia endures as a small, yet strong, partner in Northeast Asia and continues to demonstrate staunch support for U.S. regional and global policy objectives,” said Adm. Harry Harris, PACOM commander in his written posture statement Feb. 14, 2018.

PACAF will send another delegation to Mongolia later this spring with the goal of formalizing the A2A Talks and hopefully scheduling the first meeting in 2019.
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