JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Pacific Air Forces and the Vietnamese Air Defense-Air Force (ADAF) Airman-to-Airman (A2A) Talks recently took place in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sept. 25-27.
The multi-day event marked the ninth iteration of A2A talks between U.S. and Vietnam Airmen.
A2ATs are Pacific Air Forces three-day conferences held between U.S. and partner nation air forces to discuss, plan and coordinate their goals, objectives and activities for the next three-to-five years. A2ATs provides an avenue for the two forces to develop interoperability, foster military-to-military relations and improve bilateral cooperation.
“The purpose of the Airman-to-Airman talks is to synchronize strategic planning, shape engagement priorities, and develop key relationships with partner air forces,” said Maj. Tuan Tran, PACAF international affairs division’s Southeast Asia country director. “Airman-to-Airman talks [are] also a venue for PACAF leadership and staff to address issues and topics for greater cooperation and to deepen our defense relationship with regional partners to find common goals.”
The focus for this year’s talks was developing key aviation training topics and subject matter expert exchanges focused on a pilot training program with the ADAF. The Aviation Leadership Program is a U.S. Air Force-funded program, providing students of partner and developing countries with undergraduate pilot training scholarships.
“We would like to expand our cooperation on the aircraft operations, maintenance, and flight safety with the ADAF,” said Tran. “Additionally, we also invited [them] to send participants to our Aviation Leadership Program (ALP) and our professional military education courses to strengthen future cooperation and develop long-lasting relationships.”
This year’s A2ATs were part of a larger Bilateral Defense Dialogues between the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the People’s Army of Vietnam.
“The Bilateral Defense Dialogue, now in its 16th year, is an annual dialogue between USINDOPACOM and representatives from the Vietnam Ministry of National Defense to further military-to-military relations [and] offer mutual support,” said Tran. “Discussion topics and agreements at the BDD later provide policy recommendation on operations, activities and investments to the Office of Secretary Of Defense.”
These A2A talks followed a recent visit to Vietnam by U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., PACAF commander, in August 2019.
“Those that had once been my father’s adversaries were now our partners focused on common security interests,” Brown said during his recent trip to Vietnam.
Partnerships and alliances with regional partners and allies are key for ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Our engagements and cooperation with Vietnam enable us to learn from each other’s mistakes and share valuable experiences with one another in air and maritime operations,” said Tran. “This whole win-win partnership concept enables us to find common values and helps ensure peace and stability in the region and safeguard a free Indo-Pacific.”