Conference brings MPEP Soldiers together
May 20, 2009
U.S. Army North (ARNORTH) held its first Military Personnel Exchange Program (MPEP) conference May 4-8 at Fort Sam Houston to better assess how MPEP Soldiers are working with their Canadian or Mexican counterparts.
"The big reason for the conference is so Department of the Army Headquarters can get our assessment and feedback, determine which positions are still relevant, and ask the question, 'Do U.S. Army Soldiers need to fill these positions or can other armies use these positions to better develop''," said Staff Sgt. John E. Stoner, signals intelligence analyst stationed at Canadian Forces Station Leitrim in Ottawa, Canada. "These are strategic aspects that the Army learns as we give them feedback."
The conference also gave the Soldiers the opportunity to use in-station support, such as medical, dental and personnel support, which is harder to get in Canada or Mexico.
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Dorsey was the first Soldier to go through the system at ARNORTH when it took over the Army's MPEP and is enjoying the transition that comes from working in the U.S. to working in Canada.
"We (MPEP Soldiers) work and function as members of the Canadian (or Mexican) military although administrative control is here at ARNORTH. We are playing the role of a Canadian (or Mexican) soldier," Dorsey said.
Since Sgt. 1st Class Dorsey has been stationed in Canada he has been developing curricula for the Canadian Department of National Defense's Mapping and Charting Establishment in Ottawa. He also instructs new Canadian army soldiers and civilians about geospatial engineering.
The one-for-one individual swaps mean the same numbers of Mexican and Canadian troops are serving with U.S. units at home and overseas.
Through MPEP, the Army builds, sustains, and strengthens its relationships with Canada and Mexico.
The goals of the program include promoting mutual understanding and trust; enhancing interoperability through mutual understanding of doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures; and developing long-term, professional and personal relationships.
ARNORTH took full administrative control of the Army's personnel exchange program between the U.S. and Canada and the U.S. and Mexico, June 1, 2008.