Air and Space Interoperability Council
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The Air and Space Interoperability Council (ASIC) is a formal five nation military organisation with a mandate to enhance coalition warfighting capability through air and space interoperability. Member nations are those within the Five Eyes community, consisting of representatives from their respective Air Forces, and also the United States Navy. Based in Washington DC, the Council's Management Committee oversees the execution of the Vision and Mission with the cooperation of experts from member nations' defence departments.
ASIC's primary outputs are documents focused upon increasing operational effectiveness through enhanced interoperability namely Air Standards, Advisory Publications and Information Publications. The organisation's working language is English.
ASIC, originally called the Air Standardization Coordination Committee (ASCC), was formed in 1948 to manage the Air Standardization agreement between Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. This agreement was aimed at enabling those nations to conduct combined air operations and provide each other with certain essential services. In addition, it was agreed that the ASCC should promote the economies that would result from standardising air support and also encourage the exchange of research and development information. The ASCC was expanded to include the United States Navy in 1951, Australia in 1964 and New Zealand in 1965.
Expressed in the simplest of terms, the ASCC sought to promote interoperability, through standardisation, across the spectrum of expeditionary warfare and share relevant information and technology. This concept remains as valid today for ASIC as it was in 1948. The organisation went through transformation and rebranding in 2005 to reflect the current global strategic environment, moving the focus from standardisation to interoperability and with a renewed emphasis on coalition expeditionary operations, striving to ensure that there are no impediments to effective and efficient coalition air operations.
Fully integrated and interoperable coalition air and space forces.
The meanings of "integrated" and "interoperable" largely overlap, but it is important to capture both shades of meaning. "Integrated" describes a state in which ASIC member nations' forces operate as a seamless unit. "Interoperable" reflects ASIC’s primary focus; a state in which forces and equipment can operate together to accomplish the mission.
To identify and resolve current and future air and space interoperability challenges by leveraging collective expertise.
It is recognised that joint and combined activities extend beyond warfighting. ASIC aims to enhance current and future coalition war fighting capabilities and enable compatibility at the tactical and operational levels to allow the FVEY air forces to generate flexible, task-tailored forces which can operate more effectively across the full spectrum of operations whether in the short or long term.
- Looking to the Future - Building interoperability into future capability.
- Measures of Interoperability - Developing valid measures of performance and establishing effective feedback loops.
- National Imperatives - Each member nation is committed to making significant and valued contributions to coalition operations.
ASIC provides tools and knowledge to benefit commanders in national and coalition contexts and offers access to lessons identified and best practices which allow nations to align doctrines, concepts and procedures. ASIC also facilitates material loans through Test Project Agreements and provides wider awareness of national activities which are of benefit to other nations.
Through ASIC, top level direction can be given to address particular FVEY interoperability issues and updates on interoperability are provided for Chiefs to note. ASIC is responsible to the Air Force Chiefs' through the National Directors who articulate national Joint and Single Service high-level priorities and plans and collectively direct the activities of the ASIC programme, supported by their respective National Programme Managers (NPMs).
To enable the timely execution of the ASIC Vision and Mission, standing working groups cover seven key warfighting functional areas.
- Agile Combat Support - embraces Engineering and Logistics, focussing in particular upon expeditionary operations
- Air Mobility - emphasises interoperability across the range of air transport roles including air movements, airlift, air-to-air refueling and airborne operations
- Aerospace Medicine Group - consists of the Surgeon General (or equivalent) for each member Air Force and encompasses all aspects of aviation medicine
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance - focuses on the seamless integration of all the elements inherent in the command chain
- Force Application - covers the employment of interoperable coalition air power to deliver kinetic and non-kinetic effects across the spectrum of operations
- Force Protection - focuses on expeditionary airfield security and includes a sub-group of experts in Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear environments
- Fuels - extends to Fuels, Oils, Lubricants and Gases and aims to standardise techniques and procedures in the testing, certification and acceptance of aviation fuels including alternative fuels.
ASIC maintains close links with other interoperability fora, harmonising activities and working in collaboration on major projects. These include:
- ABCA Armies
- AUSCANNZUKUS (navies)
- Combined Communications Electronics Board (communication-electronics)
- Five Eyes (intelligence)
- The Technical Cooperation Program (technology and science)
- UKUSA Agreement (signal intelligence)
As three of the member nations also belong to NATO, cross functional networking with this organisation is ongoing and pivotal to the Council's execution.
Notes and references
- Five Eyes (FVEY) countries consist of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom & USA, and can also be abbreviated to the acronym AUSCANNZUKUS (Oz-can-zukus).
- The Management Committee consists of five members, one from each member nation and a small admin staff. The MC members are both an international representative of the ASIC secretariat (thus with no national executive authority) and also act as Chair for at least one Working Group, managing and co-ordinating that WGs actions and progress both during and between meetings. Each MC member is also assigned a secretarial function for another WG.
- Air Standards are an agreement by all five nations to follow the same procedure, process or technical standard
- Advisory Publications provide advice on procedural or material developments where standardisation may not be possible or appropriate
- Information Publications are a vehicle for sharing information between nations
- Air Forces' Chiefs of Staff appoint a one or two star senior officer as ND
- Working Groups comprise a Head of Delegation (HoD) from each nation who represents their national interests within the Working Group and various Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who tackle the specific issues germane to the task in hand
- Five Eyes and other related organisations' websites
- ASIC website
- ABCA Website
- CCEB Website
- EAG Website
- ICAO Website
- NATO Website
- TTCP Website
- AUSCANNZUKUS Website
- The Five Eyes Air Forces