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Air Defense Liaison Course builds knowledge, partnerships

New graduates of the Air Defense Liaison Officer Course celebrate after a commencement ceremony at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, June 24, 2021, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Through a mix of academics, practical exercises, and simulations, the course teaches students to lead a CAOC mission in their home countries, or to return to the AFCENT CAOC as a fully-integrated liaison officer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandria Lee)

New graduates of the Air Defense Liaison Officer Course celebrate after a commencement ceremony at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, June 24, 2021, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Through a mix of academics, practical exercises, and simulations, the course teaches students to lead a CAOC mission in their home countries, or to return to the AFCENT CAOC as a fully-integrated liaison officer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandria Lee)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher Fleissner, AFCENT/A5 air operations center training coordinator, and new graduates of the Air Defense Liaison Officer Course pose for a picture during a commencement ceremony at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, June 24, 2021, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The course hosted members from Gulf Cooperation Council nations and Jordan, and gives students a four-week compressed course in CAOC and regional air operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandria Lee)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher Fleissner, AFCENT/A5 air operations center training coordinator, and new graduates of the Air Defense Liaison Officer Course pose for a picture during a commencement ceremony at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, June 24, 2021, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The course hosted members from Gulf Cooperation Council nations and Jordan, and gives students a four-week compressed course in CAOC and regional air operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandria Lee)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

The first Air Defense Liaison Course graduating class since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic held a commencement ceremony June 24, 2021, at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center.

A product of U.S. Air Forces Central’s Coalition Coordination Cell, the mission of the ADLC is to improve interoperability between U.S. AFCENT, its Gulf Cooperation Council partners, and Jordan. The course trains partner air force and air defense officers on Air Operation Center operations, and exposes them to coalition defensive ops, bilateral and multilateral operations, and planning.

The ADLC is designed to build a variety of experienced officers while honoring bilateral relations.

“This program represents a hub, a meeting place that all GCC and Jordan can come together, even beyond the relations outside of the course,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher Fleissner, AFCENT/A5 air operations center training coordinator. “We all learn how to better operate inside of an air operations center with each other, building lasting relations that have the ability to transcend nations and strengthen theater cooperation and security overall.”

The ADLC students receive a four-week compressed course in AOC and regional air operations. During the course, the intent is to teach the students through academics, practical exercises, and simulations to prepare them to take care of the mission in a Gulf AOC or to return to the AFCENT CAOC as a liaison officer that can be fully integrated.

“This course not only equips me with the basic knowledge required to work jointly with our allies, it also gives me the chance to carry out practical exercises while being mentored by experts from different divisions of the CAOC,” said Royal Air Force of Oman Maj. Alwaleeed Khalid Al Farsi, F-16 pilot.

There are usually about 15 officers in each class, but due to COVID the number was reduced. This iteration had participants from Qatar, Oman, Italy, and Poland; as well as Turkey, Australia, Canada, UK, and Spain.  

“A reason this course is important, is that this course gives AFCENT an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of how things are going in each of the invited countries and to learn about and be able to compare processes between our different nations,” said Fleissner. “In these interactions, we not only teach the Gulf partners, but also learn from them and their processes.”

U.S. Airmen work closely with international counterparts on a daily basis at the CAOC, as they plan and carry out air operations together in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The ADLC gives its students a new perspective on coalition multilateral planning operations, while improving interoperability and shared procedures and furthering relations within the region.

“Knowledge on its own is not enough, the practical training this course offers is also very important,” said Al Farsi. “I learned that working with allies jointly requires the knowledge of the process as there is a lot of work involved.”

The GCC is a political and economic alliance of Middle Eastern countries comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.