By U.S. ArmyMarch 15, 2019
VICENZA, Italy -- The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater (MIB-T) hosts its second annual Lightning Week, providing its workforce with professional development, leadership and team-building skills, at Caserma Ederle, March 11-13.
The Lightning Brigade, as the 207th is known, is the youngest Army military intelligence brigade. It conducts intelligence analysis, collection, and exploitation in support of U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in order to set-up intelligence architecture for the theater, disrupt transnational and trans-regional threats, and promote regional stability in Africa.
Col. Richard D. Conkle, 207th MIB-T commander, started a tradition in the brigade, instilling the value of mentoring and developing leaders in the brigade and lower echelons.
In an interview with Armed Forces Network Vicenza, to announce Lightning Week to the Vicenza community, Conkle made the remarks.
"I have a responsibility to develop leaders within the formation. Our battalion and company commanders have a responsibility to develop leaders at their echelons," said Conkle. "Lightning week gives me, the command sergeant major and command warrant officer an opportunity to bring all of our leaders together and talk about leadership philosophies, and what leadership means in the context of not only the Army, but also our organization, our mission, as we support U.S. Africa Command."
Conkle, kicked off the week's events on March 11, by highlighting recent brigade accomplishments and the brigade's multi-year plan to the workforce during a state of the brigade address at the Ederle Theater.
In addition to the specific brigade leadership skills initiatives, Lightning Week provided brigade personnel with the unique opportunity to receive training and development from two members of the U.S. Military Academy. Lt. Col. Jordon Swain, Behavioral Science and Leadership assistant professor and Capt. Chad Plenge, Leadership Psychology instructor.
Swain and Plenge, conducted a variety of training sessions and exercises, spending the week educating brigade leaders of all ranks on the latest in leadership development, mentoring and organizational behaviors.
"We talk to both junior and senior leaders about humility, and not being afraid to acknowledge that they don't have an answer, and to leverage the expertise of the team they have around them," said Swain.
Brigade spouses also participated in Lightning Week featuring a host of family readiness events, coordinated by Heather Conkle, senior spouse of the brigade. Conkle was able to partner with the U.S. Army War College Executive Spouse Leadership Development Program, who tailored their pilot program, Facilitating Leadership and Group Skills (FLAGS) for the 207th MI Brigade spouses.
Other events that took place during Lightning Week was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Africa Data Science Center hosted by the 522nd MI Battalion, the Women History month celebration hosted by the 307th MI Battalion, and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) Town Hall hosted by the INSCOM Command Team.
To commemorated Lightning Weeks' events the brigade hosted a military intelligence ball to celebrate another successful year.
Lightning Week proved to be a successful collaboration and leadership building for all bringing together geographically dispersed leadership of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 307th Military Intelligence Battalion, located in Vicenza, Italy; the 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion located in Wiesbaden, Germany; and the 337th Military Intelligence Battalion, located in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.