Leaders of the US Air Force and the Slovenian Armed Forces met to discuss bilateral operations and interoperability during a visit to Cerklje ob Krki Air Base in Slovenia on September 9.
General Jeff Harrigian, US Air Force in Europe and Air Force in Africa commander, and Brig. General Jason E. Bailey, Commander of the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, met BG Roman Urbanč, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, and Slovenian Armed Forces Colonel Janez Gaube, Commander of the 15th Wing at Cerklje ob Krki AB. They discussed the importance of a strong US-Slovenian partnership for the employment of agile combatants, an operational concept designed to ensure that USAFE-AFAFRICA forces are prepared to respond to potential threats by enabling forces to disperse quickly and provide air power from remote or austere locations.
“Strong relationships with our European partners are vital to deter threats and defend our common interests,” said Harrigian. “We are united by a common vision for security and stability in the region, and we continually build on existing partnerships and develop new ones to achieve this goal. “
The visit coincided with the last day of Agile Wyvern, an ACE exercise in Slovenia. Aviators, F-16 Fighting Falcon and support equipment from the 31st FW were involved in the exercise.
“The success of Agile Combat Employment relies on working closely with our NATO allies and partners,” said Bailey. “This is a fundamental part of our security cooperation efforts, such as key leadership engagements, subject matter expert exchanges and exercises like Agile Wyvern that we have conducted with our partners in the Joint Armed Forces. and Slovenians. “
During Agile Wyvern, US and Slovenian troops conducted ACE training by rapidly dispersing F-16s from Aviano AB to Cerklje, and deploying tactical command and control resources as well as support personnel and equipment to operate from another location. The exercise was not only an opportunity for the U.S. and Slovenian forces to train side-by-side, but was also the culminating event for the 31st FW to achieve ACE Initial Operational Capability. ACE is intended to enhance USAFE-AFAFRICA’s ability to deter, defend and win across the spectrum of conflict.
“Our Airmen benefit greatly from working alongside the Slovenian forces,” Harrigian said. “These bilateral training exercises improve our interoperability and help us maintain joint readiness, making us all better.”