More than 150 senior officers and noncommissioned officers attended a leadership seminar hosted by the Fort Leonard Wood French army liaison officer April 6 in Lincoln Hall auditorium.

In keeping with the intent of the quarterly liaison officer seminars, French Lt. Col. Valerie Grosse, French liaison officer, presented the organization of the French army and lessons learned from their ongoing operations in Africa.

Col. Bryan Sizemore, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence operations officer, coordinated the lecture series as a way to generate shared understanding between senior leaders at Fort Leonard Wood and allied partners. The series started in January with the German liaisons presenting about mission command.

"The German presentation, coupled with the presentation today, allows us to interact with our partners, see how our partners operate in a deployed environment, then hopefully we can be more interoperable when we conduct joint operations because we will never fight without coalition partners," Sizemore said.

Sizemore said taking the opportunity to develop professional military education among the Soldiers is one of the cornerstones of what happens at Fort Leonard Wood.

"Here at Fort Leonard Wood, we all work together to create a good Soldier with skills and tools to go out into the force and do great things," he said.

Part of that development is sharing best practices, techniques and standard operating procedures with allied partners, like France, to gain an understanding "of the why," Sizemore added.

Grosse agreed.

"To fight with somebody, you have to understand how they work," she said, adding both nations are fighting the same enemy, but on different battlefields.

Grosse first provided an overview of how the French army is organized, focusing on the engineer units. She then discussed ongoing operations in Africa. Having been deployed in support of the French army's operations in Mali, Grosse provided first-hand knowledge and experience about maneuver support on the battlefield from the French perspective.

The discussion was significant, said Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, because the lessons learned Grosse discussed are being written into the Army field manual: Army Operations of the Future.

Grosse said she did take the time to read the Army doctrine on maneuver support and highlighted the value of understanding coalition partner's doctrine as a way to bridge the gap between forces and to expand overall capabilities.

The next lecture is scheduled for July 6 and will feature Grosse again to discuss "French homeland security operations."