Senior US, European land forces leaders meet to discuss security, interoperability

Sept. 17, 2014

By Cathy Vandermaarel, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

U.S. Army Europe Commander, Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., opens the 22nd annual Conference of European Armies in Wiesbaden Monday.

U.S. Army Europe Commander, Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., opens the 22nd annual Conference of European Armies in Wiesbaden Monday. (U.S. Army Europe Photo)

WIESBADEN, Germany -- Senior land forces commanders from 38 European partner nations, the U.S. and Canada convened here Sept. 15 to discuss the future of cooperative European security during the 22nd Annual Conference of European Armies.

This year's three-day conference, co-hosted by U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and U.S. Army Europe Commander, Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., focused on the importance of multinational engagement and cooperation to global security and stability.

"We must sustain readiness and prepare to conduct both expeditionary and enduring campaigns in a wide range of environments," Odierno said. "In short, we must be prepared to win in an increasingly complex world."

In this month alone, the U.S. is actively participating in exercises with approximately half of the nations represented at the conference.

The conference sessions were led by officers from various participating nations. Maj. Gen. Hubert de Vos (Belgium) and Lt. Gen. Bruno Kasdorf (Germany) presented a session on interoperability. The discussion, moderated by Lt. Gen Marquis Hainse (Canada) focused on the benefits of interoperability and peacetime training at the headquarters level.

The deployability session was moderated by Maj. Gen. Rune Jakobsen (Norway) and presented by Maj. Gen. Nicolae Ciuca (Romania), Lt. Gen. Eric Margail (NATO Rapid Raction Corps -- France), and Lt. Gen. T. P. Evans (Commander, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps). Their discussion focused on the capabilities that deploying formations, including the NATO Reaction Force, will bring to coalitions.

Lt. Gen. Mark William Poffley (UK), and retired Lt. Gen. Ton van Loon (Netherlands) led a session on engagement moderated by Lt. Gen. De Kruif (Netherlands). The session focused on activities conducted by security and force providers to recipients inside and outside of Europe and how these engagements may impact future coalition operations.

Lt. Gen. Claudio Graziano (Italy) and Lt. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges (Commander, NATO Allied Land Command; U.S.) led a conversation on NATO's Connected Forces Initiative. The session, moderated by Lt. Gen. Christos Manolas (Greece), focused on the benefits the NATO Connected Forces Initiative will provide to future coalition operations.

Finally, Campbell moderated the "Way Ahead" presentation by Odierno and Maj. Gen. Almantas Leika (Lithuania). The generals discussed how future European and Eurasian militaries will collectively engage adversaries.

"This conference helps the U.S. Army to maintain and build relationships with European allies and partners," Campbell said. "Our engagement in Europe, through the CEA and so many other events, greatly enhances U.S. national security through European regional security cooperation, building and maintaining trust relationships with vital European allies and partners."

USAREUR organizers said that the CEA has been the USAREUR commander's premier general officer-level theater security cooperation event since 1988, providing a venue for creating shared training opportunities and establishing relationships between European ground forces and contributing to regional and global security, peace and stability.

About us:U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 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.