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.
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 observers.
CONJEFAMER 2013 is scheduled to take place in Chile and will be sponsored by the Chilean Air Force.