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The Five Eyes Air Force Interoperability Council (AFIC) is a formal Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States) military organisation with a mandate to enhance coalition warfighting capability through air force interoperability. AFIC consists of representatives each nation’s Air Forces and the United States Navy. AFIC has a Washington DC based Management Committee which oversees the execution of the program’s Vision and Mission with the cooperation of experts from member nations' defence departments.
AFIC's primary outputs are Air Standards, Advisory Publications and Information Publications which document common specifications, interoperability procedures and/or tactics, techniques, procedures (TTPs) in order to increase operational effectiveness.
In 2017, AFIC updated its name to Five Eyes Air Force Interoperability Council. It was originally called the Air Standardization Coordination Committee (ASCC), when it was formed in 1948 by the air force chiefs of staff of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States to further those nations' capabilities to conduct combined air operations and to provide each other with certain essential services, namely the capability for aircraft to be cross-serviced. The ASCC was expanded to include the United States Navy in 1951, Australia in 1964 and New Zealand in 1965.
An external review of the ASCC was undertaken in 2004 to examine the organisational processes and structures. As a result of this review in 2005 the ASCC was restructured, downsized and renamed the ‘Air and Space Interoperability Council’ (ASIC).
In 2016 the Air Chiefs of the Five Eyes nations recommended that in order to increase ASIC’s operational relevance, ASIC should refresh its principles, refocus its activities, and consider updating its name. As directed, in 2017 ASIC reviewed and amended its operating concepts and procedures, refocused its activities to concentrate on Air Force interoperability outcomes and changed its name to the ‘Five Eyes Air Force Interoperability Council’.
Fully integrated and interoperable coalition air and space forces.
The meanings of ‘integrated’ and ‘interoperable’ largely overlap, but it is important to capture both shades of meaning. ‘Integrated’ describes a state in which AFIC member nations' forces operate as a seamless unit. ‘Interoperable’ reflects AFIC’s primary focus; a state in which forces and equipment can operate together to accomplish the mission.
To identify and resolve current and future air force interoperability challenges by leveraging collective expertise.
AFIC is to identify known, emerging or anticipated interoperability vulnerabilities that would serve to deny or disadvantage the Five Eyes Coalition and direct action to mitigate, address or resolve the vulnerability.
Deliver improved Five Eyes air force interoperability.
To enable the timely execution of the AFIC Vision and Mission, standing working groups cover seven key warfighting functional areas.
- Agile Combat Support - covers the essential capabilities and functions to establish, operate, sustain and close an airbase, and deploy and recover coalition air forces.
- Air Mobility - covers the movement of personnel, materiel and forces by air to, from and within a theatre of operations; including airlift, air-to-air refuelling, aerial delivery, and aeromedical evacuation, special operations support.
- Airworthiness - covers the Military Airworthiness Authorities (MAAs) from the AFIC Nations working collaboratively ensure military aircraft airworthiness and the promotion of best practice.
- Aerospace Medicine - covers all aspects of aviation medicine and involves the Surgeon General (or equivalent) for each member Air Force.
- Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance - covers the tasking/direction, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination of accurate, timely, relevant and assured information to provide the battlespace awareness essential to successful planning and conduct of operations.
- Force Protection - covers all measures and means to minimize the vulnerability of personnel, facilities, materiel, operations and activities from enemy threats and hazards.
- Fuels - covers Fuels, Oils, Lubricants and Gases, including standardise techniques and procedures in the testing, certification and acceptance of aviation fuels including alternative fuels.
- Live, Virtual and Constructive – covers aerospace systems training simulation.
AFIC maintains close links with other interoperability fora, harmonising activities and working in collaboration on major projects. These include:
- ABCA Armies
- AUSCANNZUKUS (navies)
- Combined Communications Electronics Board (communication-electronics)
- Five Eyes (intelligence)
- The Technical Cooperation Program (technology and science)
- UKUSA Agreement (signal intelligence)
As three of the member nations also belong to NATO, cross functional networking with this organisation is ongoing.
Notes and references
- Five Eyes (FVEY) countries consist of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom & USA, and can also be abbreviated to the acronym AUSCANNZUKUS (Oz-can-zukus).
- The Management Committee consists of five members, one from each member nation and a small admin staff. The MC members are both an international representative of the AFIC secretariat (thus with no national executive authority) and also act as Chair for at least one Working Group, managing and co-ordinating that WGs actions and progress both during and between meetings. Each MC member is also assigned a secretarial function for another WG.
- Working Groups comprise a Head of Delegation (HoD) from each nation who represents their national interests within the Working Group and various Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who tackle the specific issues germane to the task in hand
- Five Eyes and other related organisations' websites
- The Five Eyes Air Forces