NATO Land Command brief
Secretary of the Army John McHugh receives a briefing from Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of NATO's Allied Land in Izmir, Turkey, May 13, 2014.

IZMIR, Turkey (May 21, 2014) -- During a visit last week, Secretary of the Army John McHugh reinforced U.S. commitment to NATO's Allied Land Command, and received briefings from its leadership on progress made since the command was formed in 2012.

"This is an important command, critical to the ground forces in NATO," McHugh said to an audience consisting of a multinational staff. "I was here when the command was first formed two years ago and I'm pleased to be back to see how things are progressing."

In peacetime, Allied Land Command, or LANDCOM, is the principal land force adviser for the alliance, providing expertise in support of NATO's land forces' readiness, competency, and standardization. It is also responsible for their evaluation and certification.

LANDCOM delivers a planning capability in support of higher headquarters, and recommends improvements to doctrine, training and exercises, and technology to improve interoperability between the allied land forces. At all times, LANDCOM advocates on behalf of the NATO force structure and national armies.

"We can deploy to provide mission command for a multi-corps major joint operation," explained Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of NATO LANDCOM. "During operations, we would act as the core of a joint force command headquarters, responsible for the synchronization of land forces' command and control."

During a meeting with the command's multinational staff, McHugh addressed the significance of NATO.

"Conversations in the U.S. are focused on what will be the future of NATO after ISAF and of course, we are in a period of scarce resources," McHugh said. "But recent day's events have proven that there is a need to be partners for peace and be prepared for whatever challenges may come."

McHugh also received an update on the initiative to pursue command sponsorship and joint military assignment credit for U.S. Soldiers assigned here. In response to the presentation, McHugh reaffirmed U.S. commitment to NATO and Turkey, an important ally and strategic partner.

"We must make sure promotion boards -- and the future of Soldiers assigned here -- reflect that this is an important assignment, because this is a critical mission," said McHugh. "As [Chief of Staff of the Army] Gen. [Ray] Odierno said during a recent visit, this assignment is a broadening experience. We need to ensure that this means something for your career advancements and career improvement."

While here, McHugh met with U.S. Soldiers assigned to LANDCOM for a town hall discussion, thanking them for their service and sacrifice, and for telling him first-hand about their experiences.

Page last updated Wed May 21st, 2014 at 00:00