by Capt James Neeley, senior instructor JTAC, RCAS
The international Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) community is unique in its interoperability, collaboration, and collective mindset and training: We share tactics, techniques and procedures and we share air support assets. But we also share experience and personnel. Within this tight knit community there is one exchange program that is the envy of the rest of the international close air support (CAS) community – the Canadian Armed Forces and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) JTAC exchange program.
For more than five years, the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School (RCAS) has been hosting NZDF students on the JTAC and JTAC-Instructor courses, and the NZDF has provided a full-time exchange instructor to the RCAS JTAC cell for the past three years. This ongoing exchange provides mutual benefits that support the JTAC programs in both countries. Canada is the prime force generator of NZDF JTACs. And for the RCAS and the CAF, the additional exchange instructor increases the CAF’s own ability to force generate JTACs and provides enhanced training for all students.
The exchange program has also led to yearly collaborative training events conducted both in Canada and the United States.
The success of the CAF/NZDF JTAC exchange program has provided increased global recognition for the RCAS JTAC program, including a request to spearhead the international support effort to the Jordanian Armed Forces for the development of their JTAC program, and numerous requests to establish exchange programs with other partners to include the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland and Latvia.