INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
The Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement, DECA, team conducted the 39th annual inspection of Incirlik Air Base and its geographically separated units, Nov. 25-27.
DECA is an international arrangement between the Turkish and U.S. governments. It outlines various responsibilities that strengthen the mutual security cooperation between the two countries. This agreement encompasses, but is not limited to, meeting Turkish environment standards, hiring practices and building codes.
“The inspection bridges the opportunity to build relationships with the Turkish government and our Turkish air force counterparts to show we’re all working together, completing joint missions and building and strengthening our continuing relationship,” said Capt. Joseph Bishop, 39th Air Base Wing assistant staff judge advocate.
The team comprised of representatives from the Turkish General Staff; Turkish Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Interior, Labor, Environment and Customs directorate including the Office of Defense Cooperation-Turkey and the U.S. Embassy.
“After an initial in-brief, the team broke up into eight working groups that inspected various locations of the base,” said Bishop. “The executive team consisted of higher leadership and commanders from both U.S. and Turkish air forces; the rest broke up into specialized areas of expertise: security, labor, finance, communications, customs, construction and environment.”
These inspections showcased Turkey’s strong working relationship with the U.S. and discussed action items or topics of concern to reach mutual conclusions. It’s important to recognize these inspections are not pass or fail, rather a way to build upon the bilateral partnership.
“We’ve had a very good thread of momentum over the past few years,” said Capt. Jeremy Kent, 39th ABW deputy staff judge advocate. “This speaks to the testament of the Turkish side in finding mutually beneficial solutions to areas of concerns we both have.”
A written summary report was produced once the inspections were completed. Although some opportunities for improvement highlighted in the report can be addressed at the base level, other action items may require policy-level changes.
While DECA inspections are conducted once a year, the 39th ABW continuously coordinates with its Turkish counterparts throughout the year to fulfill the agreement.
“I think this event is very important to foster our relationships and maintain that interaction,” said Kent. “We work together and depend on each other every day to ensure the mission is secured. We do it fast, efficiently and safely all the time. That is why it is very important for us to maintain this relationship.”