Global Air Traffic Operations/Mobility Command and Control Foreign Military Sales: Supporting Our Nation's Security Strategy

By Froebel, Pauline; Stevens, Mark et al. | DISAM Journal, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

Global Air Traffic Operations/Mobility Command and Control Foreign Military Sales: Supporting Our Nation's Security Strategy


Froebel, Pauline, Stevens, Mark, Hazel, Dick, Larrimer, Guy, Mitchell, Stan, DISAM Journal


In this country, the enduring national security strategy and national military strategy include basic tenets of shaping the security environment, responding with decisive force when required, and preparing for an uncertain future. The first tenet is usually the focus of foreign military sales (FMS) division of ESC/GA and is the underlying purpose of the work being accomplished by Team GAF. FMS is one of the many tools available to the Department of State and to the regional unified commanders for accomplishing foreign policy objectives. We believe our work in Team GAF has a strong relation to shaping the security environment. For example, our efforts in East Europe support expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance, and also support aspiring NATO members in meeting their Partnership for Peace goals.

Our directorate's product line is global air traffic management and mobility command and control systems. The focus of Team GAF is to acquire high quality air traffic control products that meet the customer's requirements, delivered on time, and at a price FMS customers can afford. We in Team GAF strive for quick turnaround acquisitions, and we are fortunate to see our air traffic control navigation aids (NAVAIDS) products delivered and installed on host nation airfields in a matter of months. We have found the new nations in the East European region to be most helpful in providing the support and assistance required to implement the new FMS air traffic control (ATC) systems in quick fashion.

Background on Team GAF Efforts in East European Region

Since 1989, Central and Eastern European nation states have, in general, moved rapidly to modernize and improve civil and military air traffic control equipment and systems for both en route and terminal service. However, on the military side, progress may be significantly slower, constrained by limited budgets and deliberation over alternatives and impacts on the host nation's existing aircraft. Important problems normally encountered by these countries include incompatibility between civil and military systems, which could restrict military operations and impact training. Another typical problem is compatibility with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the United States systems and procedures. NATO/ICAO/U.S. compatibility objectives are often huge factors in early modernization decisions and plans. The availability of replacement parts and sustainment cost of aging Soviet-legacy navigation equipment is also a common problem in the region.

Team GAF Efforts in Eastern Europe Typically Follow the Following Pattern

Upon the invitation of the host nation, Team GAF participates with a larger NAVAIDS country study team consisting of the members of the U.S. Embassy's Office of Defense Cooperation, ESC and SAF program managers, and various engineers to begin the requirements definition and FMS acquisition process. The focus of the NAVAIDS Country Study Team is to:

* Discuss host nation strategies and goals with respect to ATC requirements

* Solutions planning

A country study effort usually follows. This is a fairly comprehensive effort which often takes about five months to complete. The report contains:

* Findings from site surveys, requirements definition, and assessment of existing capabilities

* Alternatives, selection factors, and modernization recommendations

* Suggested implementation approaches based on near-term and far-term time lines

Both current and advanced navigational techniques were considered in the evaluation and recommendations process, and definitions are provided.

The modernization recommendations of this report usually play an important role in the host nation navigation and landing system modernization strategies, and the country study report often resurfaces during the course of later acquisition activities. …

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