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12th Air Force Unit Wins National Counter Illicit Trafficking (CIT) Award

KEY WEST, Fla -- Detachment 2, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Air Component Coordination Element, Joint Interagency Task Force South (ACCE-J) located in Key West, Florida recently earned the 2010 United States Interdiction Coordinator (USIC) Award in the unit recognition category.

The annual USIC awards recognize significant contributions to the continuing effort to counter the increasing international and asymmetric threat posed by the trafficking of narcotics and other illicit substances.

According to Mr. Patrick Ward, the U. S. Interdiction Coordinator, "The achievements of all the 2010 nominees were truly exceptional and made the selection process a difficult task."

This award represents the first time a United States Air Force unit has been recognized by the USIC. Twenty-nine unit and individual nominations were reviewed by an interagency selection panel which consisted of one representative from the Intelligence Community, the Drug Enforcement Agency, U. S. Border Patrol, the U. S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and the USIC staff.

The U. S. Interdiction Coordinator is responsible for the development of national interdiction policy and strategy. The USIC oversees all U.S. programs and activities involved in achieving the supply reduction goals of the National Drug Control Strategy. The USIC ensures that sufficient resources are provided by Federal drug program agencies for interdiction and that their use is properly integrated and optimized.

Detachment 2 consists of the ACCE-J director and a team of air power subject matter experts that represent the AFSOUTH commander and facilitate coordination and support between the air component and the JIATFS Director. The ACCE concept was first implemented in 2003 in preparation for the initiation of OPERATION Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and in response to the lack of coordination between the air and ground components during the planning phase of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.

The ACCE has since been recognized, both doctrinally and operationally, as an effective means to facilitate the integration of airpower with other components and Joint Task Force headquarters.

Marine Col. J. D. Covington, the JIATFS J3 in charge of operations remarked, "The support and integration from AFSOUTH has been outstanding in support of the CIT mission and no surprise ACCE-J was recognized. They have spearheaded the integration of AWACS with partner nation tactical aircraft, introduced innovative USAF maritime capabilities into the Joint Operating Area and maximized the effectiveness of the ground-based radars."

Lt. Col. Solomon Boxx, ACCE-J Director commented, "This is truly a team award and reflects the hard work of our AWACS Liaison Officers, USAF radar contractors, JIATFS and the Country Liaison Officers. We have had outstanding support from the Air Force and AFSOUTH Counterdrug Program Offices and we strongly believe airpower has a crucial role in detection and monitoring of illicit trafficking."

The award will be presented to the detachment later this summer.

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