USAREUR commanding general addresses NATO "Smart Defense"

Feb. 29, 2011

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

  • USAREUR commanding general addresses NATO "Smart Defense"

    U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling spoke at the Senior Army Leaders Meeting (SALM) Feb. 28 where Senior Army Officials exchange information with Senior U.S. NATO leaders on shared issues and strategic level topics. This annual event is hosted by USA NATO Brigade.

  • USAREUR commanding general addresses NATO "Smart Defense"

    U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling spoke at the Senior Army Leaders Meeting (SALM) Feb. 28 where Senior Army Officials exchange information with Senior U.S. NATO leaders on shared issues and strategic level topics. This annual event is hosted by USA NATO Brigade.

GARMISCH, Germany -- In a speech to the US Army North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 13th Senior Army Leader’s Meeting (SALM), Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling presented his thoughts on NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s strategic concept, Smart Defense, and challenged those present to help develop actionable plans to better merge NATO and USAREUR capabilities.

Hertling challenged the US NATO officers to help political leaders define Smart Defense for the operational and tactical leaders of the US Armed Services who will be tasked to execute the concept. Smart Defense was described as a developing concept to pool NATO member nation resources, while focusing other members on specialized niche capabilities. Among the thoughts expressed during the discussion were descriptions of what Smart Defense is, and what it is not. Echoing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Hertling reminded the audience that Smart Defense is not an excuse for burden shedding, but an opportunity to expand NATO’s capabilities.

Among the Smart Defense initiatives, Hertling noted three that are specifically within USAREUR’s portfolio; Ballistic Missile Defense, Counter Terrorism and Cyber Security. During the discussion, several senior US NATO leaders suggested missile defense and counter-terror initiatives that capitalize on ongoing USAREUR operations, while noting some of the political and practical challenges involved in integrating NATO partners in US Army operations.

Noting that USAREUR does not belong to NATO, Hertling suggested that a future NATO – USAREUR relationship related to Smart Defense could include USAREUR in a role as NATO’s primary trainer for ground forces. NATO does not currently possess the training capabilities or capacity found at USAREUR’s Joint Multi-National Training Center (JMTC), and would prove an ideal hub for Smart Defense training initiatives. Under such a future concept, part of the US annual cash contributions to NATO could transition providing training opportunities.

USAREUR already provides substantial training to NATO member nations, such as the Observer/Mentor/Liaison Team (OMLT) training in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan, and the upcoming Combined Force Land Component Commander’s (CFLCC) Course for senior US and Multi-National officers.

The SALM is an annual gathering of all the senior US Army NATO leaders at 37 different NATO headquarters in 14 different nations, and includes invited senior US NATO leaders from the joint services.


About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.