143d Airlift Wing, Strengthening Security Relationships with Foreign Partners

  • Published
  • By LtCol Rick Hart
  • 143d Airlift Squadron Commander, 143 AW Director of International Programs
An important component of our national security strategy is the cultivation of relationships with our foreign partner countries with the hopes of building coalitions and working toward common goals--promoting U.S. interests abroad and enhancing global security. Since 2008, the 143d Airlift Wing (AW) has played a key role in this effort with
the implementation of several C-130J international training programs supporting multiple allied countries.

The overall success of the C-130J foreign military sales program has created an increasing demand for C-130J specific training programs in flight operations, maintenance, and mission support. The Secretary of the Air Force Office for International Affairs (SAF/IA) estimates that this demand for international training will significantly increase in the near future as more C-130J's are sold world-wide. The 143d Airlift Wing has answered the call--volunteering its state of the art infrastructure, combat seasoned
instructors, and modern C-130J aircraft to provide our foreign partners with quality training in all areas.

The process begins with the purchase of C-130J aircraft by a foreign partner country and the initial request for training from the U.S. Security Assistance Office in that country. The request proceeds through SAF/IA then on to the Air Force Security Assistance Training Squadron (AFSAT), a component of Air Education and Training Command (AETC). AFSAT works directly with the 143d AW to implement and approve all Air Force sponsored security assistance training and to monitor the progress and welfare of sponsored international students.

The 143d AW supports the training request either in the form of a Mobile Training Team (MTT), designed to provide the training "on location in country" or through an in-residence program utilizing the infrastructure and aircraft at Quonset ANGB to accomplish all training. Per U.S.C. law, all costs associated with the training must be covered by the foreign country and are reimbursed to the unit through a contract paid to the National Guard Bureau. Areas of foreign disclosure, student management, curriculum administration, program compliance and financial issues are all managed at the unit level with AFSAT and AETC providing oversight.

The 143d AW is perfectly suited to assist SAF/IA and AFSAT in meeting the demand for C-130J training and has already established a formidable reputation in the international training arena. Due to our combat experienced instructor corps, world-class facilities, modern aircraft, and renowned hospitality, the 143d AW training has become highly desired by countries purchasing the C-130J. An attractive and unique quality of
National Guard training is the high level of experience held by our instructors. Most of the support for our international training programs comes from our traditional Guardsman force--a highly seasoned team of war veterans with many years of experience in their craft. This is what makes us attractive to foreign countries around the globe. Global partners not only desire quality training, but they want it from experienced individuals who
have, themselves, executed the mission in the combat environment.

Since 2008, the 143d AW has successfully provided training in flight operations, maintenance, and mission support to several international allied countries. This enormously successful program will continue to cast a favorable spotlight on the professional men and women of the Rhode Island National Guard (RING) and increase our world-wide notoriety. The program increases our unit's viability in a world of increasing budget constraints, utilizes our aircraft more effectively, and employs a significant portion of our traditional force in a time of high unemployment.

More importantly, the RING has established a new role in the effort to enhance global security and attain national security objectives on a much larger stage. The mission of building partnerships through international training may be a lucrative path for all units in the Rhode Island National Guard.