EMACC attracts worldwide audience

Attendees of the EMACC spent the majority of their time at Tinker AFB listening to briefings and discussing issues in the Hill Conference Center. Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Blacke.

Attendees of the EMACC spent the majority of their time at Tinker AFB listening to briefings and discussing issues in the Hill Conference Center. Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Blacke.

At the end of the conference, Col. Patricia Hoffman, commander, 552nd Air Control Wing, presented Maj. Gen. Stephen Schmidt, commander, NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, with an End of the Trail statue by James Earle Fraser as a token of appreciation for sponsoring the EMACC. Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Blacke.

At the end of the conference, Col. Patricia Hoffman, commander, 552nd Air Control Wing, presented Maj. Gen. Stephen Schmidt, commander, NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, with an End of the Trail statue by James Earle Fraser as a token of appreciation for sponsoring the EMACC. Photo courtesy of 1st Lt. Blacke.

TINKER AFB, Okla. -- Commanders from around the world gathered at Tinker AFB June 16 and 17 for the Executive Multinational Airborne Early Warning Commanders' Conference (EMACC).

The EMACC is an annual event where air force leaders from nations that operate AWACS or similar airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft get together to discuss ways to advance airborne surveillance and command and control (C2) capabilities across the globe, irrespective of owning nation.

"EMACC attendees work on interoperability of the different platforms that each country owns," said Master Sgt. Christopher Fry, protocol superintendant, 552nd Air Control Wing Protocol.

There was a big turnout for the conference this year-- 51 people from 11 nations on four different continents attended, Sergeant Fry said.

"This year's EMACC focused on improving AWACS/AEW&C capabilities for the real-world missions that we're currently supporting, missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, counterdrug operations, and counter-piracy operations, for instance," said Col. Pat Hoffman, commander, 552nd Air Control Wing.

However, the conference took on added significance when the NATO AWACS team was informed on the first day of the meeting that the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) and the NATO North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) request to have NATO AWACS provide additional airspace control and surveillance over Afghanistan, said Colonel Hoffman.

The conference attendees then worked with the NATO AWACS team to increase their situational awareness of Afghanistan air operations. "The effective coordination and cooperation among AWACS units that we had just been discussing around the conference table were truly put into practice," said Colonel Hoffman.

This year's EMACC turned out to be a great success and even welcomed first-time attendees from Australia and Japan. "The key to achieving the most effective C2 and battle management capabilities is to collaborate with our allies and coalition partners and work towards a common goal," Colonel Hoffman said. "This year's EMACC was another positive step towards that goal."