System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces
|System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces|
|Active||1961 - Current|
|Country||Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and United States of America|
|Role||discuss military issues and aviation topics|
|Garrison/HQ||Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona|
The System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (Spanish: Sistema de Cooperación entre las Fuerzas Aéreas Americanas, SICOFAA) is an apolitical voluntary international organization among the North and South American air forces.
SICOFAA's mission is to promote and strengthen the bonds of friendship prevalent in the Air Forces of the American Continent, members of the System, as well as to achieve the mutual support among them through their cooperation to act jointly when directed to do so by their respective governments. Critical topics include air operations, human resources, education and training, search and rescue, disasters relief, telecommunications, aerospace medicine, weather, prevention of plane crashes, and scientific research.
System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (Spanish: Sistema de Cooperación entre las Fuerzas Aéreas Americanas) or SICOFAA. Is based out of Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. SICOFAA started in 1961 as a forum for senior leaders from Air Forces in the Western Hemisphere to discuss military issues and aviation topics. Today, the organization has become more formalized, but has kept to its voluntary and apolitical status while striving to foster friendship and cooperation among American Air Forces through the interchange of experiences, training and education. SICOFAA also develops procedures and plans to facilitate combined actions between air components of member nations.
SICOFAA holds a yearly meeting called the Conference of the American Air Chiefs or CONJEFAMER, this is where air chiefs and representatives from 18 Western Hemisphere nations meet, ranging from Canada to Argentina.
The location of each year's CONJEFAMER conference rotates among member nations; this year the U.S. Air Force hosted the military delegations during the week-long event.
Conference attendees meet to confer over recommendations and programs proposed during CONJEFAMER committee meetings held earlier this year.
The Organizations focused on the professional Airman and the interests of Air Forces of each nation are vital in ensuring governments understand what airpower can provide to their citizens. SICOFAA ensures issues that apply to Air Forces across the Americas are discussed in an atmosphere of trust and understanding and that there is much we can learn from one another.
During the 2008 conference, General Seip will present two AFSOUTH initiatives: Operation Southern Partner and a plan to implement a mobile training team dedicated to teaching Noncommissioned Officer Academy courses throughout the AFSOUTH area of responsibility.
- "Operation Southern Partner is a program to bring subject matter experts from the United States to Central and South America for focused, one-week technical and professional exchanges with partner Air Forces," explained General Seip.
- "The visits will be regionally grouped to allow maximum participation and offer a wide range of topics of interest to Airmen from the hosting countries."
- "CONJEFAMER is the perfect venue for Air Force decision makers from our partner nations to discuss ways to increase our interoperability, training opportunities, safety and security efforts," added the AFSOUTH commander. "Every recommendation from committee is voted on to ensure all parties have an equal vote in issues affecting member nation Air Forces." Explained General Seip
Some of the topics to be discussed during CONJEFAMER include ways for member nations to cooperate during natural disaster response, human resources management, information security and initiatives to share information on aircraft mishaps with the goal of achieving safer flight operations. One of the most anticipated agenda items is a major disaster relief exercise called "Cooperación 1" to be held in Chile in 2010. In addition to voting on various proposals, members will also approve an exercise schedule for combined events, awards and appoint committees to study issues. The conference, and the subsequent events approved by members, will continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship for American Air Forces and facilitate further commitments to peace and stability in this region between Airmen.
Attendees at the 2008 CONJEFAMER include: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy and the Inter-American Defense Board, as well as representatives from the United States of America.
On April 16, 1961, US Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas D. White hosted a conference at Randolph Air Force Base. Here the delegates proposed on creating an organization that would help fortify the inter-institutional relations and planning of effective professional cooperation of the American Air Forces.
In 1964, the Peruvian Air Force proposed the creation of a voluntary organization of mutual professional relations in a document titled "Bases and Procedures for a Cooperation System between the American Air Forces". This document was accepted in 1965 as the first corporate charter of SICOFAA.
Before 1990 SICOFAA consisted of three parts: the administrative (SPS), the communications (SITFAA), and the educational (IAAFA). During that time SICOFAA was under the Twelfth Air Force (AFSOUTH). It was in that year that Hurricane Andrew destroyed Homstead Air Force Base where both the administrative and educational parts of SICOFAA were stationed. It was then that SICOFAA was reorganized, IAFAA was moved to Lackland AFB and the administrative portion was moved to Andrews AFB. After this reorganization, the administrative partition was the only one that remained under the Twelfth Air Force.
SICOFAA is composed of 18 member countries:
And six observer countries:
Committees are permanent organisms that study and analyze subjects, interchange ideas and share procedures that improve the operations and collaboration between the member countries of SICOFAA.
There are five committees named after their respective area of research:
- A-I Personnel (Asuntos de Personal)
- A-II Information (Información)
- A-III Operations (Operacional)
- A-IV Logistics (Asuntos Logísticos)
- A-V Science and Technology (Ciencia y Tecnología)
The Permanent Secretary of the System (Spanish: Secretaría Permanente del Sistema, SPS) is responsible for administrative functions of SICOFAA and is located at Andrews Air Force Base. Its purpose is to centralize and ensure continuity and permanence to all the activities of SICOFAA as they are established at the CONJEFAMER. The SPS consists of a Secretary General (an USAF O-6), and a Sub Secretary, and Editor, and other support staff (military and civilian). The Sub Secretary position rotates among Colonels of the member countries, it is a two year tour.
The Liaison Officer of the Air Force (Spanish: Oficial Enlace de la Fuerza Aérea, OENFA) is the link between Air Force Chiefs of Staff and SICOFAA. Each member country has an OENFA.
The Information Technology System of the American Air Forces (Spanish: Sistema de Información Tecnológica de las Fuerzas Aéreas de América, SITFAA) is responsible for communications between SICOFAA's member countries. In 1964 SITFAA was created to meet the communication needs of SICOFAA. Originally SITFAA was part of the Science and Technology Committee but advances and technology have spurred SITFAA to become its own entity inside SICOFAA.
SITFAA's capabilities include voice, fax, Internet, and High Frequency. Each country has its own station within the SITFAA network.
Each member country has a SITFAA station, however, after SICOFAA reorganized in 1990 the United States SITFAA station moved from Puerto Rico to Andrews AFB in Maryland. The United States does not have a SITFAA station, its station serves as the Master Net Control Station (ECR or Estacion en Control de la Red ).
SITFAA is broken into two networks: the Northern Circuit (Circuito Norte) and Southern Circuit (Circuito Sur).
The Northern Circuit consists of:
The Southern Circuit consists of:
The United States is the Network Control Station (Estación Control de la Red, ECR). This station is manned by the 89th Communications Squadron of the 89th Airlift Support Group of the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base.
Each circuit members take turns being the Northern Circuit Control Station (Estación Control del Circuito Norte, ECCN) or the Southern Circuit Control Station (Estación Control del Circuito Sur, ECCS).
Each year, the five committees meet and discuss their fields. The findings are then brought to the yearly PREPLAN where the member countries decide on what topics will be discussed for implementation in the Conference of the Chiefs of the American Air Forces (Conferencia de los Jefes de las Fuerzas Aéreas Americanas, CONJEFAMER).
The member country that hosted PREPLAN hosts CONJEFAMER. At CONJEFAMER, the top Generals of the member Air Forces make decisions on the findings of the committees brought before them. The Chief of the Air Force of the host nation awards the SICOFAA Legion of Merit Medal at this conference.
The Legion of Merit Award American Aviation Fellowship, was created in the XVIII CONJEFAMER, which was held in the United States in 1978, with the aim of encouraging those military or civilian, public or private institutions, relating to Air Forces in the Americas, whose actions have promoted and fostered the growth and importance of the System of Cooperation among American Air Forces (SICOFAA).
- SICOFAA Legion of Merit Gentleman
- SICOFAA Legion of Merit Officer
- SICOFAA Legion of Merit Grand Cross
- Organization of American States
- Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance
- South America air forces maneuvers