By U.S. Army Europe Office of the Inspector GeneralMay 4, 2017
The U.S. and Greece have been close allies since Greece's fight for independence in the 19th century. As (former) President George W. Bush remarked during a speech in honor of Greek Independence Day in March 2007, "Our two nations were both born in the belief of liberty and self-determination, sharing common cultural bonds and national values. These bonds are strengthened by a mutual commitment to democracy and freedom worldwide." Emphasizing this point, the U.S. and Greece have stood together in every major conflict of the last century including the World Wars, the Cold War, and the crises in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
This strong partnership continues today as these two NATO allies stand shoulder to shoulder in order to deter Russian aggression.
Contributing to this already strong framework of military cooperation, the USAREUR Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently met with the Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff (HAGS), Lieutenant General Alkiviadis Stefanis and the HAGS Inspector General (IG), Lieutenant General Nikolaos Manouris, in Athens, Greece on 28 March 2017. The purpose of the visit was to plan opportunities for combined IG training and future bilateral inspections in order to enhance IG effectiveness and improvement in both organizations.
The Hellenic Army IG is no stranger to the USAREUR OIG. They participated in the first-ever USAREUR sponsored European IG Workshop in 2016 and provided outstanding feedback and lessons learned with the eight other countries in attendance. The Hellenic Army IG also pledged to attend the 2017 European IG Workshop, scheduled for later this fiscal year, as a solid demonstration of its willingness to strengthen its relationship with USAREUR and other NATO IGs.
While the Hellenic Army IG structure differs from its USAREUR counterparts in several areas, the exchange uncovered key areas of interoperability. Inspections appear to be the most common similarity. The Hellenic Army maintains a robust inspection program focused on improving training, logistic support, and organizational effectiveness. This effort is similar to the Organization Inspection Program (OIP) executed across the U.S. Army.
The Hellenic Army IG and USAREUR OIG also examined areas of mutual expertise and sought ways to combine resources to help tackle some of the problems both organizations face: specifically resourcing IG training. In addition to reinforcing the overwhelming benefits of attending the European IG Workshops, the two organizations discussed the benefits of sending Hellenic Army soldiers to The Inspector General School: the U.S. Army's certification "gold standard" for all IGs conducted at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Although the HAGS is currently undergoing reforms based on previous readiness assessments, their military leadership's eagerness to create positive change is a prime example of how effective their organizations is. Before the engagement was concluded, both the Hellenic Army IG and USAREUR OIG began developing a road map for conducting a bilateral inspection during SABER GUARDIAN 17, a critical multi-national exercise taking place in July 2017.
While military alliance and strong bilateral cooperation brought these organizations together, it is our common function as Inspectors General that will positively fuel this relationship for years to come.