By Sgt. Jeff StorrierApril 4, 2018
VICENZA, Italy -- The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater), held a week-long professional development series and team-building events centered on leadership and creating a culture of change during the week of March 12 -- 18 at Caserma Ederle. The occasion was marked by the attendance of Maj. Gen. Christopher Ballard, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).
The Lightning Brigade, as the 207th is known, is the newest Army military intelligence brigade, activated on March 15, 2016. It conducts intelligence collection and exploitation in support of U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in order to disrupt transnational and trans-regional threats, and promote regional stability in Africa.
Col. David Conkle, the brigade's commander, kicked off the week's events by highlighting recent brigade accomplishments and the brigade's multi-year plan to an audience of officers and enlisted personnel during a state of the brigade address at the Ederle Theater.
"We've spent a great deal of time and effort on creating a culture within the brigade," Conkle said. "Lightning Week gives us a tremendous opportunity to refine that culture and allow our organization to provide even better support to our USARAF, INSCOM and AFRICOM partners."
Ballard, accompanied by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kevin Boughton, INSCOM's command chief warrant officer, took time to address the brigade's officers, warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers on several occasions throughout the week, offering their thoughts on everything from expectations of a field grade officer to the ever-changing, complex intelligence environment in which the brigade operates.
Ballard emphasized the merits of mission-critical mindsets like continuation of change and adaptability to the 207th.
"We must learn to embrace the most current technology that ultimately allows those at the tactical edge to close with and destroy our enemies, despite the knowledge it may soon be rendered obsolete due to the pace of innovation," Ballard said.
In addition to the pursuit of specific brigade initiatives, Lightning Week provided brigade personnel with the unique opportunity to receive training and development from two members of the U.S. Army War College.
Col. Michael Hosie and Dr. Thomas Galvin made their way from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to Caserma Ederle, spending the week training Lightning Brigade leaders of all ranks on the latest in critical thinking methodology and how to systematically lead change.
For Conkle, the Army War College training seminar on leading organizational change, presented by Galvin, was one of the focal points of Lightning Week and one of the most useful blocks of instruction he'd ever received.
"I wanted to get that training out to every echelon of leadership within the Lightning Brigade because I sincerely wish I had received it much earlier in my own career," he said.
Brigade spouses were also given an opportunity to be a part of the week's events with a host of family readiness group events, including a spouse's brunch that was attended by Mrs. Michelle Ballard, the wife of INSCOM's commanding general.
Mrs. Ballard also joined forces with her husband as they served as guest speakers in the culminating Lightning Week event, the 2nd Annual 207th Military Intelligence Brigade Ball.
The Hotel Villa Michelangelo provided a stunning backdrop to the ball, which was attended by special guests Brig. Gen. Gabriel Troiano, deputy director, AFRICOM J2 and Brig. Gen. John Novalis II, deputy chief of staff operations, Multinational Corps Northeast, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Poland, and their spouses.
It was a fitting end to a week spent strengthening enduring bonds and developing strong, adaptive leaders who will drive the Lightning Brigade forward as it continues its mission in support of USARAF and AFRICOM.