Hello USAREUR Team,

I hope that everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday season! Time with friends and family, and some much needed relaxation can help us recharge our batteries and prepare for a great 2014!

As we begin the new year here in Europe, I want to take the opportunity to discuss our future and how it is nested with the five strategic priorities, set by our chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, and how they pertain to our mission here in USAREUR.

These priorities will provide the Total Army, and USAREUR, with a definitive statement of our mission as we look ahead to build upon our hard-earned experiences of the previous decade of war and toward a future that poses distinct challenges of its own. Over the next few months, I will talk about each of these priorities and how they relate to and affect USAREUR.

The first strategic priority that I want to discuss is: Adaptive Army Leaders for a Complex World. Building Adaptive Army Leaders is our hedge against an operating environment that will continue to be uncertain.

2013 brought many challenges to the Army with the fiscal uncertainty and the proposed changes to the Army force structure. Regardless of what the future holds, I encourage everyone to continue seeking professional development and continue to foster the resiliency, battlefield skill and fighting spirit that have always typified the American Soldier.

Here in Europe, we have the unique advantage of working side by side with our allies and multinational partners every day. This provides an opportunity to educate and develop all our Soldiers and civilians to grow the intellectual capacity to understand our complex contemporary security environment and as a result we have better leaders for Army, joint, interagency and multinational task forces and teams.

As we are all aware, our Army is downsizing to a smaller, but more agile and ready force. Part of being an effective, adaptive Army leader is ensuring that our Soldiers are attending the right schools and training, providing the right education to the right individuals at the right time. As leaders, we also need to be proactive about our own career path and seek out opportunities for development and growth.

The Army is looking to retain the very best who exhibit tactical competence and technical proficiency while cultivating strategic perspective and leadership from senior NCO, to field grade, to general officer ranks. Everywhere I go, Soldiers ask me what they can do to ensure they can continue their career in the Army, and it's very simple. Don't give the Army a reason to cut you.

As a Team, we will continue to ensure that we grow and maintain Adaptive Army Leaders for a Complex World.

Strong Soldiers, Strong Teams!