4th annual CEANCO brings together senior enlisted leaders from across Europe

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
May 14, 2010

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Thirty-five senior enlisted leaders from European armies and the U.S. Army Europe came together to build relationships and improve their Army’s NCO Corps during the 4th Annual Conference of European Armies for Noncommissioned Officers held May 9 through May 12 in the Netherlands.

This year’s conference, co-hosted by the Royal Netherlands Army and U.S. Army in Europe, focused on the theme of “Train the Trainer.”  The event also encouraged attendees to share ideas and experiences with each other.

"When you look at this conference, one of the principle things we’re looking for is to be able to engage other nations, establish relationships, and build capacity,” said U.S. Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston during the conference.  “And that’s really what this conference does.  We’re engaging with each other, helping each other build capacity, build strength, build unity.”

During the conference, attendees discussed training methods and the criteria to be a training NCO.  They also observed Dutch training methods and live fire exercises. Building stronger training methods was a focus throughout the event.

It is important to establish minimum requirements that every nation can follow and the consistent methods that we can use to train or teach them.  This conference helps us do that, said Hungarian Command Sgt. Maj. János Zsótér, command sergeant major of the Hungarian 25th Infantry Brigade, and senior enlisted leader of the Hungarian Land Forces.

Although many senior leaders wore different uniforms, and spoke many different languages, their goal was the same: improve their NCO corps.

“It really goes to show that whatever nation whatever country we’re from, as Soldiers, as Noncommissioned Officers, we all have the same ideas and thoughts and focus of where we want to take our armies,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Blackwood, U.S. Army Europe’s interim command sergeant major.

Many of the attendees have returned each year since the conference started in 2006; a strong indicator of its effectiveness.

“This kind of conference is very useful, the tools we are getting here are also very useful,” said Slovenian Command Sgt. Maj Janez Šmid, command sergeant major of the Slovenian Armed Forces’ Forces Command, “Back home in my country we’ve already used it a lot to develop a professional NCO Corps, and NCO support channels. The previous conferences and this one: some new tools, some new knowledge is shared among the senior NCOs, so another year, another new tool for me.”