Air Force Featured Stories

Danish officer shares international security expertise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Travis Beihl
  • U.S. Air Forces Central Command
The Combined Air Operations Center is home to a multitude of coalition members, and all have their specific roles in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. One member, Royal Danish Air Force Lt. Col. Lars Cramer-Larsen, RDAF chief coalition strategist, provides his expertise and research about the Middle East to key leaders and decision makers as his role.

Cramer-Larsen began his military career in 1980 as a private in data communications and worked his way up to master sergeant before commissioning as a 3rd lieutenant in 1993. It wasn’t long before he started his academic career as a researcher at a prestigious military college.

“When I came to the Royal Danish Defense College to teach, they asked if I would like to specialize in the Middle East,” said Cramer-Larsen. “I have a deep feeling about the Middle East; especially the fact that a nation like Syria is destroyed like it is. It used to be called ‘The Pearl of the Middle East’ and it’s totally destroyed today because of the civil war and the impact that it has had on the population.”

When Cramer-Larsen was assigned to the CAOC, his knowledge and expertise stood out. Soon after arriving, he was approached and asked if he would be willing to host seminars for the base population.

“The previous CAOC Director brought up the idea of doing informal lectures on base to invite as many people as possible to hear a different perspective on the mission area in Operation Inherent Resolve,” said Cramer-Larsen. “We had a great turn out for our first event with around 80 people in attendance. Therefore we held three other events with the same amount of interest.”

Those working closely with Cramer-Larsen quickly realized how his depth of knowledge could make a large impact on the mission of U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

“He adds a wealth of knowledge on the area of responsibility,” said Air Force 1st Lt. William Baker, Coalition Coordination Cell deputy coalition coordinator. “He is a dedicated scholar and has spent a lot of time studying our allies and adversaries. He has brought a vital perspective to strategic decision making and information sharing.”

His seminar attendees seem to agree, Cramer-Larsen’s nine years as an instructor in joint operations made his gift for teaching evident.

“He did an excellent job of capturing not only what we as coalition partners should be concerned about regarding our near-peer adversaries, but also some of the major challenges those adversaries are dealing with domestically,” said Air Force Capt. Joseph Shaw, AFCENT Force Protection liaison.

Cramer-Larsen is grateful for the interest.

“People have an interest in looking out and seeing what the world is from a different perspective,” he said.
Cramer-Larsen works alongside other coalition members at the CAOC who work diligently to provide deterrence and stability to a region.

“One of the things I take with me is the work and dedication we have and the professionalism that we see within the CAOC,” Cramer-Larsen said. “The contribution we have from all of the coalition members, and the effectiveness of having a muscle like the United States, is just breathtaking when you see how much impact we have.”

By sharing his expertise on-duty and off, Cramer-Larsen highlights the importance of providing war-winning coalition airpower.

“It’s not about magnitude of difference in number of aircraft, it’s the fact that you have multiple nations all delivering and contributing to the entire mission,” said Cramer-Larsen. “That is the important part.”