By Sgt. Beth LakeNovember 6, 2008
FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- Representatives from 14 countries in U.S. Army Central's (USARCENT) area of operations came together Oct. 27 through 31 in Atlanta for a Concept Development Conference (CDC).
The CDC is designed for delegates to plan the Land Forces Symposium (LFS) scheduled for April 2009 in Kenya, Africa.
After four days of deliberating, the delegates met with Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, USARCENT commander, and Command Sgt. Major John Fourhman, USARCENT command sergeant major, to review the tentative plan for the LFS. The theme will be Land Forces' Challenges in a Full Spectrum Environment.
Throughout the conference, attendees planned the various themes and topics that senior land forces commanders will talk about in April, said Lt. Col. Stephen Richter, USARCENT Civil and Military Affairs Arabian Peninsula planner.
"They are looking for issues that are most important so commanders can discuss them and make improvements in cooperation to enhance security," Richter said.
Lt. Col. Ernest Irick, USARCENT chief of strategic initiatives, used an analogy to described the importance of the planning meetings.
"Instead of having many hammers trying to hit one nail, it is better to work together," Irick said.
"Coalitions working together act as one sledgehammer nailing together in an effort to achieve a common operating picture."
Working together will enable countries to deal with issues, such as counterterrorism, crime and violent extremist organizations, Irick added.
"The current trends in the world impact certain regions of the world," said Col. Rizat Yergaliyevich Kolpashev of Kazakhstan. "In order to solve challenges we commonly face, it is necessary to cooperate."
Brig. Gen. Michael Machuria, of Kenya, agreed, noting issues that affect not only his country but many.
"In a group like this, you develop common ways of looking at an issue. It is like looking through the same lens," Machuria said. "Problems are not special to one country, they cut across the region. Border security is a good example of this. This affects Kenya, but also other countries like Kuwait and Iraq."
In anticipation of holding the 2009 symposium in Kenya, Machuria spoke with excitement.
"It is a good thing because we are marketing our country," said Machura. "We have good relations with the American Army. We train our army here and we have good projects that the Americans are doing in Kenya."
The symposium will be co-hosted by Lovelace and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff.