Written by Robin Berger
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Saturday, 2 February 2008

image for US Air Force launches "Berlin CyberLift" in Egypt to save lives, protect cyberspace
The US Air Force will fly Internet packets to Egypt in "MOD-40" cyber craft like this one

CAIRO, EGYPT -- The U.S. Central Command Air Forces commander visited Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 29 to announce a "Berlin CyberLift" that will replace a series of undersea cables that were damaged in the war-torn region.

Lt. Gen. Gary L. North and his staff met with Maj. Gen. Michael A. Collings, Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation, and Mr. Stuart Jones, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, and the U.S. country team in Cairo, to discuss key issues on how to safely transport data packets into Egypt.

The general and his staff met with Air Marshal Magdi Sharawi, Egyptian Air Forces Commander-in-Chief, and Lt. Gen. Samy Enan, the Egyptian Armed Forces Chief of Staff, at the Ministry of Defense in Cairo. General Enan is the equivalent of the Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff in the U.S. military.

General North discussed details of the "Berlin CyberLift" with both AM Sharawi and General Enan, who suggested it officially be called "Operation Pharaoh Packet." There was also dialogue about recent developments in coalition Internet surfing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa.

Key topics of discussion focused on security for Airmen who fly through Egyptian cyberspace and future opportunities where both countries could strengthen their PayPal partnership.

The CENTAF commander said the "Berlin CyberLift" for Egypt was absolutely imperative for the region.

"The cooperation, friendship and warm relations we enjoy with our Egyptian partners are critical to our ongoing efforts to bring peace, security and operating system stability to the region," said General North.

General Enan also echoed General North's statement and said he appreciated the "face to face" visit with U.S. military leaders, which he deemed very positive for the strategic relations between the U.S. and Egypt. "If Operation Pharaoh Packet is successful, we may some day be able to go back to our webcams. We will not need to fly around the world to visit each other in person."

"It is absolutely vital that this Berlin CyberLift be as effective as its predecessor," General North said. "The original Berlin Airlift proved the importance of an Air Force to global security. Our new Berlin CyberLift will prove the importance of a Cyber Force. When people look back on this years from now, they'll remember Operation Pharaoh Packet as one of the true success stories of the cyberspace era."

General North last visited Egypt in August 2007 where he was the key note speaker at the Egyptian celebration for the 25th birthday of the country's first computer programmer.

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