U.S. Army Europe hosts 30th Annual Legion of Merit Conference

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
Oct. 25, 2010

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Approximately 50 senior international recipients of the U.S. Legion of Merit and 20 senior U.S. Army Europe staff members participated in the 30th Annual USAREUR Legion of Merit Conference at Patrick Henry Village here, Nov. 4.

Hosted by Brig. Gen. Allen W. Batschelet, USAREUR’s deputy chief of staff of operations, participants received briefings on topics of collective interest such as the current status of NATO affairs, the future posture of USAREUR, multinational training and European theater security cooperation.

There have been many changes since the first Legion of Merit Conference in 1980, but what remains constant is the NATO alliance and the cooperation of its members and partners here in Europe, said Batschelet during the conference.

John Kriendler, professor of NATO and European Security Issues at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany, spoke about the state of the alliance at the conference. Kriendler said that while it won’t be easy, the alliance’s members remain committed to NATO and to working together as they prepare to meet in Lisbon later this month to define a new strategic concept that will guide their collective goals.

“Negotiating an overarching document in such a short period of time seems like ‘mission impossible,’” Kriendler said. “My view is that this isn’t ‘mission impossible,’ but it is ‘mission very difficult.’”

Conference officials said the purpose of the annual event is to gain a different perspective on key issues from experienced European leaders and to sustain and strengthen U.S. and partner nation relationships.

The value of cooperation, exercises and training together here in Europe has been proven by NATO success in Afghanistan, where nearly 90 percent of non-U.S. forces come from Europe, said Batschelet.