Hawaii Air National Guard completes first ever Indonesia air defense subject matter expert exchange

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz
  • 154th Wing Public Affairs
Air defense experts from the Hawaii Air National Guard completed a Subject Matter Expert Exchange with counterparts from Indonesia, Sept. 15-17.

The three day exchange took place near Halim International Airport in Indonesia's capital of Jakarta. This was the first time a SMEE involving air defense had been conducted between the HIANG and Kohanudnas, the component of the Indonesian armed forces responsible for air defense.

"The team's immediate goal was to lay the foundation for a productive relationship between the Hawaii Air National Guard and the Kohanudnas." said Maj. Michael O'Donnell, Mission Crew Commander, 169th Air Defense Squadron.

"Long term, we would like to have an enduring partnership with the Kohanudnas that promotes stability in the region."

The exchanges were part of the National Guard's State Partnership Program. The program matches a state's National Guard with a partner country in order to build capacity and reinforce security cooperation.  Program partners engage in a wide range of security cooperation activities such as homeland defense, disaster response, and interagency cooperation.

"The State Partnership Program is a Department of Defense joint security cooperation program administered by the National Guard." said Maj. Robert Galino, Theater Command and Control Officer with the 109th Air Operations Group.  "It supports the combatant commander's security cooperation objectives and Ambassador's intergrated country strategies."

A team of seven HIANG personnel from the 169th ADS and 109th AOG engaged with Kohanudnas on topics ranging from air battle management, target identification, target tracking, and data transmission.

"It's very important to share experiences with air defense and to learn and collaborate with each other as we share in the common goal of peace and security." said Galino.

"We hope to continue our relationship with Indonesia...to not just include the tactical level, but operational and maybe strategic."

The partnership with Indonesia was just one example of the HIANG's execution of the SPP mission and reflects the National Guard's growing international affairs mission. In August, the HIANG hosted air defense officials from the Philippine Air Force for bi-lateral learning and discussions. The HIANG teams up with the Guam National Guard to execute the SPP mission with the Philippines.

Currently, the National Guard maintains SPP relations with 76 nations around the world.

"The purpose of the State Partnership Program is to build mutually beneficial military relationships with foreign nations. This is accomplished by face to face interactions that foster professional and personal contacts." said O'Donnell.