WASHINGTON -- The Department of the Army approved its first reciprocal General Officer military exchange with France, the Service announced today.

The exchange is part of the U.S. Army's Military Personnel Exchange Program (MPEP). The program is designed to strengthen bonds of friendship, understanding, and interoperability between the countries and their respective military organizations.

Brig. Gen. Todd Wasmund, USA, and Brig. Gen. Hubert Cottereau of France's Land Forces were selected to participate in this first Army reciprocal General Officer exchange between the two countries.

Wasmund's assignment will be as the Deputy Commanding General of France's 3rd Armoured Division, headquartered in Marseilles. The assignment will begin early 2020. Currently, Wasmund is the Deputy Commanding General for Support of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division.

Cottereau will begin his assignment as Deputy Commanding General for Readiness of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga. in the summer of 2019.

Typically, MPEP assignments will be from two to three years in length.

This MPEP with the French Army is only the second such reciprocal, General Officer for General Officer, exchange the U.S. Army currently has in place. The U.S. Army established its first reciprocal General Officer MPEP exchange with the United Kingdom in September 2015.

The MPEP program directly supports the Secretary of the Army priority "Allies and Partners." The goal of this priority is to optimize the Army's interoperability with our allies and partners to strengthen alliances and deliver more effective coalition operations.