The Chilean Air Force (FACH) hosted the 46th Committee of the System of Cooperation among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA) for the 2023-2024 cycle at the Quinchamalí Club in Santiago, Chile, November 7-9. The international committee brought together representatives of the air forces of 16 countries of the Americas and invited military organizations.
“This committee is aimed at leveling the capabilities of various countries with those of developed countries,” Guillermo Holzmann, defense analyst and academic at the University of Valparaíso, Chile, told Diálogo on November 28. “That’s the case of the United States and Canada with countries that have their own system, but that must establish the necessary algorithms so that information can flow quickly, independent of the different systems they may have.”
SICOFAA’s mission is to promote humanitarian aid through cooperation and integration of capabilities to achieve interoperability of air force resources and their equivalents in the face of natural and man-made disasters affecting the Americas region, according to its website.
In this edition, the main theme was airspace control, where participants exchanged experiences and knowledge in humanitarian aid and disaster exercises to enrich doctrines and reaction capabilities. In addition, participating air forces shared criteria and standardized procedures to optimize the use of human and material resources, the FACH said in a statement.
Major General Armando Osorio, director of International Relations of the FACH, served as chair of the Committee. The meeting also had the participation of U.S. Air Force (USAF) Colonel Michael Ingersoll, SICOFAA secretary general, as well as representatives of invited organizations such as the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA); the Inter-American Defense Board, which belongs to the Organization of American States; and the Permanent Secretariat of SICOFAA.
“This Committee allowed us to achieve substantial improvements in our cooperation system to become more and more efficient,” Maj. Gen. Osorio said. “We were able to improve our protocols, manuals, and all overflight permissions, to arrive with help where required.”
During the first day of activities, the air forces of Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, made presentations. The next day, the remaining countries followed with theirs, which were complemented by working tables.
“What SICOFAA seeks is to create cooperation and enhance interoperability among the hemisphere’s air forces,” said Holzmann. “[They] analyze data, voice, radar, and real-time imaging capabilities, with efficient technology and platforms to operate in situations arising from climate change and natural disasters, where flight or atmospheric conditions are adverse, but the ability to mobilize resources for the rescue of people, disaster containment, and the mobilization of civilian and military resources is required.”
Air General Hugo Rodríguez, FACH commander, led the final session of the 46th SICOFAA Committee, thanking the delegations for their participation and the work carried out by the officers.
“During this week, fundamental issues in operations and airspace control were addressed, which are part of our essence and are linked to humanitarian aid in combined operations,” Gen. Rodríguez told the delegations. “This committee culminates with full success thanks to the commitment of each one of you.
At the close of the meeting, Col. Ingersoll recognized the members of the organizing committee, as well as those who presented outstanding papers at the meeting, the FACH said.
The next SICOFAA Committee will be held April 15-19, 2024 in Quito, Ecuador, and will be dedicated to satellite support and space policy development. The following one will be held in May, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.