USAREUR’s partnerships with Europeans can help the Army transition to 'Prevent'

Oct. 11, 2011

Bruce Anderson, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

U.S. Army Europe

Photo credit Bruce Anderson, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling speaks at the Chapter Presidents Dinner during the Association of the United States Army 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Oct. 9. He emphasized that the command has developed ways with our allies to prepare for, and prevail in, conflict, pointing out that Europeans make up more than 85 percent of the international force in Afghanistan, nearly 40,000 Soldiers.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army is nearing a critical transition point in its strategic priorities, said Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, U.S. Army Europe commanding general, during his remarks at the Association of the United States Army Chapter Presidents Dinner in Washington, D.C. Oct. 9, and the partnerships USAREUR builds can help lead the way through that transition.

Though preparing for conflict and prevailing have been the priorities for 10 years, the Army will soon shift to a post-ISAF environment, and begin placing greater emphasis on preventing future conflicts, Hertling said.

“As ISAF draws down, as some of our forces decrease in size, as we face budget constraints, we must find new ways to build partner capacity and partnerships...,” Hertling said.

One of the many ways USAREUR builds partnerships is the annual Conference of European Armies. USAREUR co-hosted the most recent CEA with the Italian Land Forces in September 2011. The Army Chief of Staff, or the equivalent, from nearly 40 countries met to discuss how to maintain the alliances and partnerships USAREUR has helped build since the Nation went to war 10 years ago.

“Old Europe, new Europe, and even middle Europe all agreed on what we wanted to do,” Hertling said.

Hertling listed some of the key partnership-building initiatives discussed during the CEA, and he gave examples:

  • Expand training relationships, with USAREUR helping to “train the trainers,” not just conduct the training for everyone.  Over the past several years, 900 sergeants from partner nations have graduated from USAREUR’s Joint Multinational Training Command NCO Academy and returned to their nation and developed NCOs there, Hertling said.
  • Integrate allied trainers into JMTC Observer/Controller teams. USAREUR currently has Soldiers from Poland, Romania, Croatia, Germany, and Italy on O/C teams, Hertling said.
  • Continue to train and exercise together, but in different types of scenarios to mitigate personnel and resource constraints. USAREUR recently completed the 17th year of exercise Combined Endeavor, which is a multinational communication and computer network exercise, Hertling said. This year 39 countries participated and the exercise focused on the emerging cyber threat, he said.

The senior leader engagement at the CEA is only one aspect of USAREUR’s partnership-building operations. Preparing units in a multinational setting to prevail in conflict is a key function of those operations. One unprecedented example is the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team’s full-spectrum Mission Rehearsal Exercise taking place throughout October 2011 in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany.

More than 7,500 Soldiers from 17 countries are participating in the exercise, including a battalion of Slovakian Soldiers augmenting the Opposing Forces usually provided by Joint Multinational Readiness Command’s 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment.

In April 2011, during the 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Mission Rehearsal Exercise in preparation for the brigade’s current deployment to Afghanistan, more than 750 Soldiers from Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bosnia, Slovenia, France, as well as Soldiers from the Afghan National Army were integrated into the training.

These were the same partners the 172nd is fighting alongside right now, and this exercise allowed the partners to build trust before the deployment, Hertling said.

With most events falling somewhere between senior leader engagements like the CEA and brigade-size exercises, USAREUR conducts or facilitates hundreds of other multinational exchanges and training events, all with the aim of building partner capacity and developing partnerships.

  • USAREUR has developed a new Coalition Forces Land Component Command course for senior allied officers.
  • USAREUR is conducting multinational exercises in Ukraine with 13 other nations, in the Baltics with seven other nations, and in the Black Sea region with Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.
  • More than 5,000 multinational Soldiers have completed Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) training at HTA, since 2009.
  • USAREUR’s JMTC has provided Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) training to more than 5,000 multinational Soldiers, since 2010.
  • Since 2003, nearly 600 International Military Students from 27 countries have completed the Warrior Leader Course at the 7th Army NCOA.
  • In 2010 alone, the JMTC's simulations center has conducted eight major Theater Engagement Exercises and 55 significant events with more than 10,000 multinational participants.
  • Nearly 4,000 multinational Soldiers have completed specialized functional training at CATC since 2003.

“We’ve found ways to prepare and prevail – not alone, but with our allies,” Hertling said, pointing out that Europeans make up more than 85 percent of the international force in Afghanistan, nearly 40,000 Soldiers. “That’s significant to our Nation.”

Finding new ways to build partner capacity and partnerships, building on the relationships USAREUR has already developed, will help the U.S. Army meet the Nation’s strategic challenges and prepare alliances before the next war begins, Hertling said.