number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 3
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 122,589
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 55,868 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
country comparison to the world: 133
Airports - with paved runways:
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
total: 622 km
narrow gauge: 622 km 1.000-m gauge
note: another 660 km of this railway extends into Cote d'Ivoire (2014)
country comparison to the world: 109
total: 15,272 km
Burkina Faso National Air Transport System - History
Frequent air travelers within Africa agree that the cost of air tickets is too high. So serious is this issue that top African aviation stakeholders met virtually early this year to discuss factors responsible for the high cost of airfares and to come up with suggestions on how to address such factors.
At a webinar organised by the African Aviation Industry Group (AAIG) under the theme "Achieving Affordable Air Transport Across Africa," the industry experts said high airfare costs result from a convergence of multiple factors that include the cost of goods sold, intermediary costs, government taxes, regulatory charges, time of purchase (early-bird options tend to be cheaper), fuel costs, market forces of demand and supply, and costs related to original equipment manufacturers.
They also identified safety and security concerns, poor intra-African connectivity, market access limitations and inadequate infrastructure as some of the challenges facing the industry.
Secretary-General of the African Civil Aviation Commission, Tefera Mekonnen Tefera, noted that the aviation sector was seriously over-taxed and over-burdened with high charges and fees thereby making travel by air unaffordable in most parts of Africa.
Mr. Tefera added that, "Apart from the aeronautical charges and government taxes, airlines also pay additional charges and fees for ancillary airport facilities and services, ground handling services, oversight and regulatory services by CAAs (civil aviation authorities).
"Airlines are equally faced with high jet fuel costs however, the charges and taxes levied by far have the highest impacts on the prices of tickets for air travel in Africa," Mr. Tefera emphasized.
High cost of jet fuel
Participants in the webinar lamented that jet fuel costs more in Africa, including in oil-producing countries, than in Europe or the Middle East.
The situation has improved substantially in recent years, they acknowledged, although there is still a perceived poor safety record of African airlines compared to other regions due to factors such as old airplanes, poor aircraft maintenance and sub-standard airport infrastructure.
Director-General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Gilbert Kibe said that high aviation costs have hindered inter- and intra-African commerce, business and leisure travel, which have diminished the competitiveness of African products in the global market.
Apart from the aeronautical charges and government taxes, airlines also pay additional charges and fees for ancillary airport facilities and services, ground handling services, oversight and regulatory services by CAAs (civil aviation authorities).
Mr. Kibe noted that, "Lack of competition due to the monopolistic stranglehold of the big airlines has led to a few planes which charge the equivalent of travelling to European destinations."
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation of African airlines, just like elsewhere in the world.
According to the International Air Transport Association, which supports aviation with global standards for airline safety, security, efficiency and sustainability, the African airline industry lost up to $6 billion last year due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 exacerbated African aviation's age-old problems such as limited inter-Africa connectivity, weak passenger load factors, inadequate infrastructure, high cost of inter-Africa travel, high financing premiums.
To recover, the aviation industry has been putting in place enhanced COVID-19 prevention and management measures.
Financing African airlines
In the past decade, Afreximbank has arranged over $2.5 billion in financing to African airlines and still has an active facility in excess of $200 million, says Oluranti Doherty, the bank's Director of Export Development.
Many airlines have downsized their operations and staff to survive the pandemic, with the cost of testing for COVID-19 perceived as a new passenger tax.
Industry stakeholders say that a restart and recovery must be an opportunity for African aviation to address high operational costs.
Chief executive of Crabtree Capital, a Dublin-based aviation consultancy, Mark Tierney, says that, "If we're serious about making civil air transport affordable for the majority so as to boost economic growth and development, there are only two ways to do it: subsidies or reduced unit costs."
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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is an organization of West African states which aims to promote the economy of the region. It was established by the 1975 Treaty of Lagos.
ECOWAS includes two sub-regional blocs:
- The West African Economic and Monetary UnionThis union is comprised of eight, mainly French-speaking states within the ECOWAS. They share a currency union and a customs union. Established in 1994, the union is commonly known by its French acronym EUMOA. All the EUMOA countries use the West African CFA franc as their currency. (ISO 4217 code: XOF). The CFA franc is pegged to the Euro. The EUMOA members are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
- The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ)This group is comprised of six countries within the ECOWAS. Formed in 2000, the group members have been working to adopt their own common currency (suggested name: Eco), but as of 2019, the adoption has not yet happened.
The founding WAMZ countries are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Liberia joined in 2010. Except for Guinea, all these countries are mainly English-speaking.
New trinational deal paves way for FCAS demonstrator program
STUTTGART, Germany — Nearly four years after the pan-European Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program was first brought to light, the three partner nations have reached a deal to develop a demonstrator fighter aircraft by 2027.
French Minister of Defense Florence Parly formally announced Monday that France, Germany, and Spain had finalized an agreement that will allow industry partners to start developing a flying prototype aircraft, after months of uncertainty surrounding the negotiations.
The agreement is a shot in the arm for the multinational program, as stakeholders are racing to reach a financing deal before the German Bundestag leaves town for their summer recess in late June. Disputes among the nations’ industry partners over elements such as intellectual property rights and work share slowed progress. In April, however, France’s Dassault Aviation and Germany’s Airbus reached their own deal to move on to the demonstrator phase. The two companies, along with Spain’s Indra, lead each country’s industrial participation.
If the program remains on schedule, the first FCAS demonstrator will launch one decade after the French and German government leaders first agreed to jointly build a new sixth-generation fighter aircraft. Spain was brought on as a full nation partner in 2020.
The quality of the demonstrator phase of FCAS – also known as SCAF, for the French name système de combat aérien du futur – will be key to the success of the overall program, observers have previously noted. The goal is to reduce the risk of technological hurdles early on, in order to avoid delays and additional cost hurdles further down the line, analysts previously told Defense News.
Parly confirmed in Monday’s statement that the FCAS program is still expected to reach full operational capacity by 2040. The “system of systems’' will include not only the new fighter aircraft, but also an upgraded weapon system, new remote carrier drones, an advanced combat cloud, a new jet engine, and advanced sensors and stealth technologies.
There were mixed signals from Paris and Berlin late Monday about the costs involved. A French defense spokesman confirmed that the demonstrator phase was expected to cost 3,5 billion euros (U.S. $4.25 billion), split equally among the three participating nations. Defense officials in Berlin said the Implementing Agreement 3, which is the document governing the upcoming program stages 1B and 2, comes with a price tag of more than 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) for Germany alone.
Either way, the figures are up significantly from a previous cost estimate of 2,5 billion euros that the governments prescribed to companies as a ceiling last year.
Burkina Faso National Air Transport System - History
The aviation minister says the plan was stalled by COVID-19.
Nigeria will begin the operation of a new national air carrier in the first quarter of 2022, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced Wednesday.
Mr Sirika said this while speaking to journalists after the Federal Executive Council presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja.
"In this 2021, we will try to do all the needful and probably we intend to start operations somewhere around first quarter 2022," he said.
He said the emergence of COVID-19 delayed the conclusion of plans as well as the takeoff of the project which he said the federal government is still committed to.
He said the aviation ministry will submit a proposal to the council in two weeks.
Mr Sirika said the national carrier was expected to take off initially this year, as an economic necessity for the country with the size of the population, the vantage geographical location, and other natural factors.
"It is still in top gear, we are coming back to Council, hopefully within the next two weeks, to present the memo on the national carrier," he said.
"We went to Council to approve the outline business case for the carrier and then the Council raised some questions and asked us to go and file the memo again and bring it back.
"So, once it comes back and the outline business case is approved by Council, then, of course, we will now go to the full business case, which is now going to the market and then establishing the national carrier.
"It was our intention to have a national carrier running in 2021, which is this year. Unfortunately due to COVID, which took the greater part of last year, since March last year, activities are almost impossible.
"Of course, for obvious reasons, we now have access to equipment, that they will come faster to us, deliveries of the aircraft will be faster, perhaps even the rates might be cheaper and so on, and so forth."
Shaping Burkina Faso's fight against COVID-19 response
WHO's Burkina Faso country office has been providing valuable support in the country throughout the crisis.
"WHO's guidance and assistance has been instrumental since the beginning of the health emergency" said Dr Alimata J. Diarra-Nama, WHO representative based in Ouagadougou. "We helped prepare the country from the beginning with a sound support by ensuring that preparedness and response plans are finalized and implemented to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic"
Dr Diarra-Nama, who has been helping lead the country's response throughout, says she starts every day by updating herself with the latest WHO information about the pandemic so to be ready to respond to situations in relation with the ongoing response in the course of the day. Guidance and information has continuously been shared with the national authorities and have shaped Burkina Faso's overall response, she says.
"WHO's support to the country has included so far: up to date partners with evidences on the new virus and COVID-19 disease dynamic at global and regional level, logistics and supply chain, deployment of Epidemiologist consultants to support national response in setting comprehensive surveillance activities Infection Prevention and Control, Risks Communication and Community Engagement as well as security assessment to help teams get to hard-to-reach parts of the country. WHO helped the country strengthen its capacities at every level,&rdquo Dr Diarra-Nama says.
WHO discussing with the traditional chief of Wendebel (site for internally displaced persons located in Dori, in the north of the country) on the barrier measures of Covid-19, before the start of an educational session for the benefit of the displaced persons of the site
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country. is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in West Africa, like avian influenza, Ebola, Lassa fever, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Lassa fever is a risk in this country.
Lassa fever is caused by a virus carried by rodents. Humans get sick when they inhale or come into close contact with feces, saliva, or urine of infected rodents or the blood or bodily fluids of infected humans.
Camping, forestry work, or other outdoor activities can put travellers at a higher risk.
Lassa virus can be very serious. Avoid rodents and rodent-infested areas.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
COVID-19 - Testing
Contact local health authorities, or the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test.
Medical facilities and supplies are very limited outside the capital. Clinics and doctors often request cash payment.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind.
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
The humanitarian situation is deteriorating quickly and severely in Burkina Faso, a fragile country among the 10 poorest in the world. The internal conflict has intensified, spreading across all regions in the country. Armed violence has caused massive population displacements, while civilians are increasingly targeted. A state of emergency remains in 14 out of the 45 provinces.
Conflict affects most of the regions in Burkina Faso, especially to the north and east of the country, close to the borders with Mali and Niger. More than 1.1 million people are internally displaced as a result. It represents a tenfold increase compared to January 2019. In 2020, violent attacks claimed almost 2,300 lives.
The widespread violence affects people’s livelihoods. Access to fields and markets is becoming even more challenging, meaning families cannot always meet their food needs. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that this year 3.5 million people need humanitarian aid (an increase of 20% compared to 2020)
Conflict has also hit hard educational and health facilities. In February 2021, more than 2,200 schools remained closed, keeping nearly 314,500 pupils and 11,000 teachers out of school.
Health facilities are also under threat with some 491 local health centres being either closed, dysfunctional, or used as temporary shelter by internally displaced people. This means that over 810,000 individuals have restricted access to healthcare. COVID-19 is an additional challenge to the already fragile health system in the country.
The volatile security situation makes it increasingly difficult for humanitarian workers to access the people in need, only worsening needs in these hard-to-reach communities.
In 2021, the EU is supporting humanitarian action in Burkina Faso with €32.3 million, including funding to address food insecurity. EU humanitarian aid focuses on supporting internally displaced people and host populations affected by the ongoing armed conflict. The aim is to address the food and nutritional crisis, and build the capacity of local organisations to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Burkinabe people uprooted within the country and host communities receive food assistance, shelter, and basic essential items. Improving access to healthcare and providing mental health support to help people overcome the traumatic experience of conflict is also a priority. EU support provides education in an environment where schools have closed and teachers and students face threats from armed groups.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, EU-funded humanitarian projects have adapted their actions to help beneficiaries and staff stay safe. Actions already focusing on the health sector and in providing access to clean water and sanitation are taking into account the new needs brought about by the pandemic, in line with the country’s COVID-19 Response Plan. The EU also contributed funding in support of the WHO’s actions in the country on early detection and response, and on having adequate expertise on the ground.
EU humanitarian aid funds the delivery of emergency food assistance during the lean season – the crucial period of the year between harvests, normally running from June to September, when food reserves are depleted. At the same time, assistance provides free nutritional care for malnourished children under 5 years.
EU aid in Burkina Faso also supports disaster risk reduction. Ongoing programmes include increasing communities’ preparedness to face health risks and strengthening the national response system to prevent and manage food and nutrition crises.
To reinforce people's ability to cope with crises, the EU links its humanitarian emergency assistance with its longer-term development cooperation. In this respect, EU development assistance in Burkina Faso supports a national programme enabling access to free healthcare for children under the age of 5. This ensures that life-saving interventions addressing malnutrition are maintained beyond the immediate, short-term emergency measures funded by humanitarian aid.
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While efforts to date are laudable, more must be done to quickly mature the war-fighting concept, as the threats posed by China and Russia are manifest today. This sense of urgency is reinforced by Gen. Brown’s call for the service to “accelerate change.”
First, access to ally and partner nation airfields must be expanded. If American air forces are constrained to U.S. main operating bases within the Indo-Pacific region and Europe, the ability to “pick up” and move at a time, and to a place, of the combatant command’s choosing is markedly diminished. In turn, capability in theater risks becoming static. Such forces are easy targets for Beijing or Moscow.
Both regional commands are making strides to alleviate this concern: Agreements and infrastructure improvements in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe serve as examples. However, considering the waves of missiles one might expect at the start of a high-end fight, pursuit of additional operating locations is warranted.
US Air Force tests ‘base in a box’ in Poland1 of 10 About 60 airmen from 14 different active, Reserve and Air National Guard units set up this tent city at Poland’s 31st Air Base during a July exercise meant to test a smaller, prototype version of the U.S. Air Force's deployable air base system, or DABS, construct. This camp is about one-fifth the scale of an actual DABS, exercise organizers say. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 2 of 10 The first-ever DABS proof of concept officially kicked off July 16, when vehicles and supplies started arriving at Poland's 31st Air Base. This photo shows 12 tents used for living quarters, left, with the headquarters of the 1st Combat Communications Squadron, which provided classified and unclassified radio and internet, right. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 3 of 10 The dining facility, on left, with the camp's kitchen on right. During the DABS exercise, U.S. Air Force personnel ate breakfast and dinner with Polish forces, while airmen from the 200th RED HORSE Squadron DET 1, Ohio Air National Guard, cooked daily lunches. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 4 of 10 A typical hot lunch of noodles and gravy, fruit cocktail, vegetables, and chocolate cake. The meals were prepared and served by airmen from the 200th RED HORSE Squadron DET 1, Ohio Air National Guard. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 5 of 10 One of the shower facilities available to U.S. Air Force personnel during the DABS proof of concept, which ran from July 16 to Aug. 14, 2018, at Poland’s 31st Air Base. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 6 of 10 Over the course of the exercise, 87 trucks, two C-130J aircraft and a train moved the equivalent of 321 pallets of equipment into Krzesiny, Poland, by July 31. These washing machines were among that sent via C-130 to the 31st Air Base. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 7 of 10 On July 31, several U.S. Air Force civil engineers were tapped to perform airfield work for the Polish armed forces. The troops participating in the DABS exercise used a kit of materiel needed for rapid airfield repairs, such as concrete and asphalt, a variety of saws, and other tools. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 8 of 10 An airman uses a chainsaw to remove damaged concrete before a team of civil engineers fills a sinkhole on a maintenance apron on July 31 at the 31st Air Base near Krzesiny, Poland. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 9 of 10 U.S. Air Force personnel, temporarily deployed to the 31st Air Base in Krzesiny, Poland, unload vehicles and shipping containers full of equipment on July 31. The DABS exercise held in July and August will help the service evaluate how quickly it can move materiel onto a partner nation's base. (Valerie Insinna/Staff) 10 of 10 Over the course of the DABS proof of concept, about 60 vehicles and 161 containers worth of equipment were transported from Sanem, Luxembourg, to Krzesiny, Poland, from July 16 to Aug. 1, 2018. (Valerie Insinna/Staff)
Second, the procurement of pre-positioned equipment must be accelerated. To reduce theater airlift requirements, it is imperative to pre-position equipment that airmen will need to support forward aircraft. This is particularly true in the Indo-Pacific, as it lacks the well-established multimodal networks found in Europe.
Unfortunately, procurement timelines for these materials are often lengthy. For example, full fielding of U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s deployable air base system kits is not expected until 2026. This will be protracted further for Pacific Air Force’s regionally based cluster pre-position kits, which have yet to receive funding as part of the Air Force’s latest budget request.
If troops cannot posture these kits in a timely manner, America’s air forces may risk moving to insufficiently outfitted locations — a result that would adversely impact ACE execution.
Third, planners should assess the role and capacity of airlift. Airlift will invariably incur a heavier burden to execute ACE. Needed to carry the crews and cargo supporting fighter aircraft from one location to the next, transport assets prove integral to this concept’s agility. However, given the fleet’s high demand, it is prudent to evaluate whether it could sustain ACE across a contested environment. This examination should account for current and future demands to fully identify air mobility limitations. The findings would help determine the right mix of airlift and whether requirements exist for an airframe not in the inventory or more long-range bombers.
Finally, the Air Force must broaden its training to create multi-capable airmen. Due to finite capacity to rapidly shift support personnel worldwide, the Air Force is training airmen to take on roles outside of their traditional jobs. This effort reduces the logistics tail required to project combat power.
Thus far, multi-capable training has been developed and executed by various major commands, and — at the start of this year — the Air Force began crafting a program baseline. To build on this foundation and produce multirole airmen from the outset of their military career, incorporating the new training standard into applicable technical schools would aid in growing the requisite skills needed to compete in tomorrow’s fight.
Each of these components is critical to ACE’s success against a peer adversary. Without timely development and implementation — in the words of Gen. Brown — “we risk losing the certainty with which we have defended our national interests for decades.”