U.S. Army Chief of Staff, GEN Raymond Odierno at the Conference of European Armies





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Published on Sep 27, 2011


Senior land forces commanders from across Europe wrapped up three days of discussion of military partnerships and security cooperation as the U.S. Army Europe-led Conference of European Armies came to a close today.

This year's conference, the 19th CEA, took place in Italy.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno took part in this year's event. In an interview during the CEA he underscored the importance of developing relationships with America's European allies and partners.

"We have to continue to adapt and adjust, and so (the CEA) gives us an opportunity to discuss those issues as we move forward," Odierno said. "It's about interoperability; it's about understanding each other's doctrine; it's about understanding tactics, techniques and procedures that different nations bring. ...This eases the burden as we deploy together as a coalition, and if we're able to ease the burden in training it'll make it much easier to integrate ourselves as we're on a mission, whether it be in Afghanistan, Libya or other places around the world."

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, USAREUR commanding general, co-hosted the CEA and spoke on the successes of U.S. and European forces during a decade of combat in Afghanistan.

"At JMTC, we have incorporated the latest doctrinal changes as they apply to counterinsurgency operations; tactics, techniques and procedures; counter-improvised explosive device lessons; and new intelligence-gathering techniques" to keep the center's training state-of-the-art, Hertling told the assembled leaders.

He illustrated the extent to which USAREUR is applying those methods to combined training with an anecdote about Secretary of the Army John McHugh's recent visit to JMTC. The secretary, he said, saw U.S. Soldiers training there alongside Bulgarian forces conducting counter-IED training, Georgian forces in a Mission Rehearsal Exercise, USAREUR staff personnel returning from an exercise in Poland, an Italian observer-controller giving an after-action review to U.S. forces, and soldiers from several European nations attending courses at the 7th Army NCO Academy.

Hertling offered just a few statistics and facts to help define the scope of that cooperative training:

- multinational partners have taken part in every Mission Rehearsal Exercise at JMTC's Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels since 2005

- more than 14,000 allied and partner nation personnel have participated in predeployment training events at JMTC since 2005

- more than 4,000 personnel from 21 countries have participated in Operational Mentor and Liaison Team and Police OMLT training programs

- more than 300 troops from 24 nations have participated in intelligence training since May 2010

- more than 900 NCOs from allied and partner nations -- most from Poland -- have attended the NCO academy over the past eight years

- international forces have been integrated into JMTC observer-controller teams and serve as trainers at the NCO academy

In his remarks Hertling also emphasized the necessity of teamwork to future conflicts and challenges.

"As ISAF draws down, as some of our forces decrease in size, as we face budget constraints, we must find new ways to develop partnerships through theater security cooperation -- exercises, training events, regional vice bilateral partnerships, professional development of officers and noncommissioned officers -- to meet the challenges," he said.

CEA co-host Lt. Gen. Giuseppe Valotto, chief of staff of the Italian army, called the conference an ideal setting for "the true decision makers of our armies" to talk and develop, and consolidate new and old partnerships.


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