Leaders from the U.S. Army NATO Brigade, U.S. Army Europe and other NATO Commands gathered in Garmisch, Germany for the 17th annual Senior Army Leaders Meeting.
The meeting provides Army leaders assigned to over 40 various NATO Commands across 37 locations in 20 countries and three continents the opportunity to gather to share ideas, synchronize plans and provide feedback on future issues to affect both U.S. and NATO organizations.
"When you look in the room you are hit by the fact that this huge group of American officers are spread out over every facet of NATO," said Brig. Gen. John Novalis Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Multi-National Corps. North East. "From Northern Estonia all the way down to Bulgaria, Romania and the Black Sea area.
The leaders wanted to ensure that they had the time to work through some of the challenges associated with being assigned across the breadth Europe and NATO.
"I wanted to learn about any of the issues that officers and senior NCO's have that are assigned to these various NATO commands so that U.S. Army Europe can help reduce the friction they may be encountering at the commands they are part of," said Maj. Gen John Gronski, Deputy Commanding General, National Guard, U.S. Army Europe. "U.S. Army Europe is behind them 100 percent."
USANATO Bde. is responsible for the readiness and support of all U.S. Army personnel assigned to the various NATO organizations and this meeting gives the brigade leadership, and organizational leaders from across NATO the opportunity to meet face to face and accomplish work that can only be done effectively in person.
"Often, we are spread throughout Europe it is often difficult to make that connection," said Col. Marcus Jones, Program Director One, NATO Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger, Norway. "This provides the opportunity to make that person to person connection, that later, when you need to do coordination it will definitely ease that process."
The person to person connection was a common theme for all the attendees and building a network of connections and relationships is important for all the leaders. It is also the opportunity to get feedback from the other participants in the meeting to better support them and to synchronize training needs and requirements.
"This is a unique opportunity to get everyone together, they speak different languages, different cultures, different values, interests to come together to form that common operating picture," said Col. Gregory N. Ash Jr., Commander U.S. Army NATO Brigade. "We as the NATO Brigade can leverage and be an enabler to continue to ensure Soldiers can fight tonight."