News: Increased Joint Exercises and Cultural Awareness keys to future success for U.S. Army Europe
ZAGREB, Croatia -The Commanding General of the U.S Army Europe said this week that increasing joint exercises and improving his soldiers cultural awareness are keys to success as the Army in Europe turns its focus from the war in Afghanistan to increased NATO cooperation and regional security.
“I have a vision that we can bring in more nations to the exercises we host and that they become more joint, Army, Navy, Air Force, from the different nations, then we will better be able to secure funds from the Joint staff,” said Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, on a visit to exercise Immediate Response 13, being hosted by the Croatian Army here.
Campbell outlined an evolving U.S. Army commitment to NATO which will soon be manifested by the European Rotation Force (ERF) and NATO Response Force (NRF).
He said the Fort Hood, Texas soldiers who are taking part in Immediate Response represent the Army Chief of Staff’s plan to designate one brigade to align with European Command.
“The US commitment to NATO and the NATO Response Force is this (U.S.) brigade, twice a year for about 60 days at a time. I think it’s a strong commitment on the part of the U.S.; it will also be a unique experience for the brigade.”
The First Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is the first unit aligned to Europe via the ERF.
Calling assignments with multinational partners “Imperative” for the professional development for both his officers and NCOs, Campbell expressed hope these leaders will become more culturally aware using his NATO partners as an example.
“We may be the best Army in the world but we can learn from the nations who participate in these exercises with us. We need to become more culturally aware, we must focus more on learning other nation’s languages, that’s a weakness that I know the Army is addressing, ways we can learn a second language. Most of our partners, in this exercise, speak fairly good English our ability to speak a second language is something we can work on as we move forward,” Campbell explained.
USAREUR’s Commander said he wants future multinational training to be, “interesting, challenging and frankly fun for our (U.S.) soldiers.”
The Observer Coach Trainers (OCT’s) from the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany, were singled out by Campbell for their contributions to Immediate Response 13.
These officers brought their training expertise here to answer questions and point out various courses of action to critical battlefield decisions.
Campbell took time to compliment them on the way they shared that battle tested experience. “I got nothing but compliments about the OCT’s from the nations that were provided them.”
“The JMRC team asked their mentored units to take a good look at themselves; in some cases that’s hard to do but the nations have all been very complimentary about our team from JMRC.
Campbell also paid a quick visit to members of the Hawaii National Guard who are supporting this exercise. He told them how important he felt the National Guard is to the future U.S commitment to NATO.
“The fact that they are able to participate, to lend their experience and to learn from our partners here is so very important,” Campbell observed saying he wanted to see more reserve component interaction in the future.