FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas-U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) leadership met for a Theater Campaign Support Plan Assessment off-site at Fort Sam Houston's Community Center, Feb. 8.

The commander's off-site provided ARNORTH's leadership with an assessment of the command's performance in achieving the desired conditions, inform future priorities, identified gaps and validate "or redefine" the intermediate objectives through validation.

"This off-site was, first, a chance to bring the staff together and look at how our operational environment has changed in the last year," said Lt. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan, the commander of U.S. Army North (Fifth Army). "We reviewed important geopolitical events, analyzed new policy guidance like the National Security Strategy and National Defense Authorization Act, and considered lessons learned in the last year, like our observations from our response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. From there, we were able to focus on the way ahead that included validating, or even changing, our campaign objectives and reflecting on ways to achieve those objectives over time."

But, why did the leadership decide to host a meeting off-site oppose to a meeting at the ARNORTH headquarters?

"Getting away from the headquarters was important to avoid the distraction of meetings and emails and other day-to-day work," said Buchanan. "We were able to take a step back to look at the big picture, to think exclusively about our command objectives and determine if we are doing things right and, more importantly, doing the right things."

He continued, "So, we are committing ourselves to this day as leaders..."This is not about me, this is about us working together as a team to shape our behaviors for the next year's operations."

Mark Kazmierczak, the lead planner for ARNORTH's Campaign and Assessment Division, discussed the significance of the intermediate objectives, and the information that comprised the narrative for the intermediate objectives.

"Like [Lt. Gen. Buchanan] said, 'we're looking at this as a current validation of our previous assessment, and looking for staff and command input to ensure we are receiving the necessary recommendations, so we can build and provide what we think is a priority that needs to come out of this off-site as we go forward," said Kazmierczak. "Since November [2017], we've been looking deeply at the intermediate objectives and conditions as a working group; we did a 14-page narrative, and we took that narrative and translated it into this brief.

ARNORTH's off-site's included topics on the operational approach, review of the intermediate objectives, and changes to the operational environment.

"We are going to look at the operational approach that we developed last year to access the direction of what we are trying to achieve with this campaign plan that nests with [Northern Command, Defense Support to Civil Authorities and Department of Homeland Defense] objectives. Those descriptions from last year were key to how we describe those conditions, which were key to how we assess this campaign plan."

The off-site concluded with the recommended priorities for fiscal year 2018.