RCAF hosts successful Conference of the Air Chiefs of the Americas
June 15, 2012, Ottawa - The Royal Canadian Air Force's top officer
hosted the 52nd annual Conferencia de los Jefes de las Fuerzas Aereas
Americanas - Conference of the Air Chiefs of the Americas, or
CONJEFAMER, this week in Ottawa.
By Carey Fredericks
The Commander of the RCAF, Lieutenant-General (LGen) Andre Deschamps,
presided over CONJEFAMER 2012, which brought together air force chiefs
from 18 member countries and three observer air forces to discuss mutual
collaboration and security throughout the Americas and to foster
cooperation and friendship.
"Fifty-two years of these successful meetings is a testament to the
commitment and friendship among air force professionals," said LGen
Deschamps. "I thank all participants in this year's conference for their
contributions to progress within the Americas and to better
understanding between our air forces and our
This year's conference, which included opening remarks by the Minister
of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, incorporated two
plenary sessions, an executive session and several bilateral meetings
between the commanders. The planning of the second combined major
disaster relief exercise, Cooperacion 2, which will be held in Argentina
in 2013, also took place.
Conferences like CONJEFAMER are instrumental in laying the groundwork
for more active forms of collaboration between Canada and other
countries in the Americas. Such conferences have helped to enable
Canada's participation in regular military exercises like PANAMAX, a
multi-national exercise that focuses
on defending the Panama Canal from attacks by organized terrorist
organizations and Exercise FUERZAS ALIADAS HUMANITARIAS, an
international joint field training exercise designed to advance
integrated disaster response to major crises in the Caribbean. Events
like CONJEFAMER have also facilitated our engagement in multilateral
operations, such as the relief efforts that followed the Chilean and
Haitian earthquakes of 2010, and counter-trafficking efforts like
Operation CARIBBE – Canada's contribution to the Joint Interagency Task
Force South (JIATF-South).
The RCAF has been a major contributor to many of these collaborative
efforts in the Americas, particularly when it comes to disaster relief
and search and rescue. In Jamaica, for example, the RCAF helped to
construct and develop the Jamaican Military Aviation School, which
trains fixed-wing and helicopter pilots from across the Caribbean. The
RCAF also responded to a request for help from the Jamaican government
last year by deploying search and rescue assets to that country for the
duration of the hurricane season, through Operation JAGUAR.
Attendees at this year's CONJEFAMER included Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,
Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States,
and Uruguay. Belize, Jamaica and Mexico were also represented as
CONJEFAMER 2013 is scheduled to take place in Chile and will be sponsored by the Chilean Air Force.