Special Edition Interview with the Spokesperson of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

An exclusive Interview with Captain Erik Anthony, USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs Spokesperson, conducted by Editor in Chief.

Sir, it’s a great pleasure to have this interview with you. Thank you very much indeed for accepting our invitation. 

  • Q 1: Can you please describe the strategic mission and the intercontinental role of USAFE-AFAFRICA?

As the air component for both U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command, USAFE-AFAFRICA executes the Air Component missions with forward-based airpower and infrastructure to conduct and enable theater and global operations. USAFE-AFAFRICA directs air operations in a theater spanning three continents, covering more than 19 million square miles, and containing 104 independent states. Our mission is: “to forward project power across air, space and cyber domains, defend United States interests, demonstrate warfighting readiness, and forge partnerships in support of United States European Command and United States Africa Command Campaign objectives.”

  • Q 2:  How do you see the alignment of strategic security of the Baltic and Arctic region with USAFE-AFAFRICA’s mission?

The alignment of strategic security of the Baltic and Arctic regions is crucial to our mission. We remain committed to security throughout the Baltic and Arctic regions and a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace. Strong relationships and continued interoperability with our allies and partners in these regions increases defense cooperation, improves the independent defense capabilities of Baltic nations and contributes to strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense postures in the High North and on NATO’s Eastern Flank.

Through continued training, exercises and exchanges, we work alongside our allies and partners to build interoperability across all domains and bolster stability and security in the Baltics and in the Arctic. In recent years, the bonds between the U.S. and our friends in these regions have only grown stronger, and our long-standing relationships span a broad range of mutual security, economic, and global interests.

  • Q 3:  Was Spartan Warrior 20-9 also in the framework of NATO? Can one measure the achievement of operational objectives up to the present?

Yes. Spartan Warrior is a multinational exercise that strengthens distributed training capabilities among NATO nations. Spartan Warrior 20-9 utilized the USAFE-AFAFRICA Warfare Center’s facility and various facilities around the world. This allowed for robust simulation assets to introduce air and ground scenarios for U.S. and NATO participants. The scenarios tested the players’ abilities in countering threats while building cohesive protocol for real-world events.

Q 4: In mid-January, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa participated in a Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) with NATO allies and partners in the Black Sea region.

  •  Can you please discuss the most significant aspects of the JADC2 training?

It’s increasingly crucial that we maintain the decision advantage and turn data into information quicker. JADC2 seeks to create agile and resilient command and control systems, capable of operating through degraded environments. The inherent flexibility and capability of our forces, bolstered by JADC2, allow us to maintain the right presence where we need it, when we need it.

  • Q 5:  Please tell us about the recent BTF and its envisaged operational goals?

B-2 Spirit aircraft from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, flew the final mission of the most recent Bomber Task Force deployment on March 25, 2021. This iteration of the BTF consisted of B-2s and B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

The B-1s accomplished a number of historic firsts and operational goals during this deployment. They were the first bomber to deploy to Norway, land in the Arctic Circle and land in Poland where they conducted the first hot-pit refuel of a B-1 in Europe, demonstrating a critical Agile Combat Employment capability. From Norway, the B-1s flew nine sorties, integrating with ally and partner assets to include Norwegian F-35 Lightning aircraft, Swedish JAS-39 Gripens, Danish F-16 Fighting Falcons, Polish F-16s and German and Italian Eurofighter Typhoons which also supported NATO’s Baltic Air Policing. The B-1s also worked alongside U.S. special operations forces to provide critical support to Norwegian and Swedish joint terminal attack controller training.

On March 16, B-2s joined this iteration of the BTF, flying their first of four missions in the High North. The B-2s integrated with the B-1s and the Norwegian F-35s that supported NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission off the coast of Iceland. The aircraft carried out complex operations at night after beginning the mission from three different bases on two continents. The sortie provided an opportunity for the aircraft to advance their cross-platform data-sharing capabilities, improving 5th generation interoperability.

Strategic bomber missions enhance the readiness of the U.S. Air Force, which is necessary to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe.

  • Q 6: Could you also comment on the partnership of USAFE-AFAFRICA and the Norwegian Air Force?

The U.S. and Norway collaborate closely on many global, regional and bilateral issues. Norway is an exceptional NATO ally thanks to its investment in high-end capabilities and commitment to peace and stability in Europe and the Arctic. Norway generously contributes to regional leadership and global stability, to include serving as NATO’s sentinels in the North as well as its continuing support of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the Defeat-ISIS Coalition.

Additional: Spartan Warrior 20-9: NATO strengthens air power

Acknowledgment: Image F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron takes off for exercise Agile Liberty at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, April 19, 2021. ©U.S. Air Force/Airman Jacob Wood.                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Interview is subject to Copyright Law. ©U.S. European Command/ U.S Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA)/ U.S. Army Europe and Africa /U.S Army/ U.S Air Force/ U.S Europe World Affairs.