TBILISI, Georgia -- U.S. Army Europe and the Georgian Armed Forces are hosting senior noncommissioned officers from more than 30 nations and the U.S. for the 8th annual Conference of European Armies for Noncommissioned Officers here.

The three-day conference led by USAREUR Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr. and Sgt. Maj. of the Georgian Armed Forces Aluda Kopaliani focuses on NCO roles and responsibilities in future security challenges.

"It is very important to build friendships with NCOs from different countries and to build relationships," said conference participant Master Sgt. Shalva Okmelashvili, who oversees the Georgian training center. "These sort of communications improve friendship and build strong partnerships."

NCO professional development, prevention of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, and medical readiness are among the topics on the agenda for the conference. Conference leaders hope that that the event will provide each participating national force with greater insight on how their partner forces are looking to develop and improve NCO skills.

"The purpose of these conferences is to come together as senior noncommissioned officers and talk about the profession of being a Soldier and how to train and take better care of our Soldiers and their families," said Davenport.

The conference allows for discussion on matters of mutual interest, as well as the opportunity to establish and maintain personal and professional relationships between counterparts. Attendees generally hold the top enlisted positions in their nations' land forces, comparable to the U.S. Sergeant Major of the Army.