IZMIR, Turkey (December 3, 2020) – The United States Army has made significant changes within the last two years in order to increase capability and focus in the European and African theaters – as has NATO. Recognizing these changes, the Commander of Allied Land Command, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr. invited the commanders of the newly consolidated U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command, newly reactivated V Corps, and newly consolidated Southern European Task Force, Africa to his headquarters in Izmir, Turkey December 3 to discuss opportunities to harmonize efforts with his NATO land forces focused mission.
With a multinational LANDCOM audience on hand for the discussions, U.S. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, who commands USAREUR-AF, explained the importance of his organization’s redefined role and the changes it brings to security for the Alliance.
“It applies all of the forces, and all of the capabilities that the U.S. Army puts on this side of the Atlantic against not just the European problem set, but against the Africa problem set as well,” he said.
The realignment of USAREUR-AF affords the U.S. Army flexibility in the amount of force it applies in Europe or in Africa, and places emphasis on its work alongside NATO allies.
“Just as important, it allows us to align U.S. Army activities, investments, and operations with the activities in Africa and the security concerns of some of our allies, especially Southern European allies who are very focused on the Africa issues, so this gives us sort of a natural teamwork with them,” said Cavoli.
Topics discussed between the commanders during the meetings included NATO and U.S. strategic and operational planning for defense and deterrence, NATO and U.S. training for alliance and partner nations, security cooperation and assistance, and the ways in which the multiple headquarters within Alliance and partner nations can benefit each other across the joint area of operations.
Cloutier, who previously commanded U.S. Army Africa – now SETAF-AF – recognizes the exponential benefit to collaborating with his U.S. Army counterparts.
“With NATO’s 360 approach to deterrence and defence of the Euro-Atlantic area, there’s a lot of opportunities where U.S. Army Europe and Africa and LANDCOM can partner, which will improve the training and readiness of what they are doing, the overall training and readiness of LANDCOM, and the NATO Alliance,” he said.
The commanders agreed that greater partnership and integration of land capabilities and forces are keys to advancing Alliance and partner security interests. Working more closely together, they believe they can achieve greater integration and synchronization in planning, training, security cooperation, and partnerships across the joint area of operations.
LANDCOM is uniquely positioned as NATO’s land domain advocate to help enable interoperability, standardization and readiness for the very Alliance land forces that will serve alongside their U.S. counterparts for the protection of NATO.
For V Corps, LANDCOM’s position in NATO as a land-focused single service command is a critical link for the newly reactivated U.S. Army Corps as they assume a forward presence in Europe and conduct operations with allied and partner land forces.
“V Corps’ role will be to assist EUCOM and U.S. Army Europe and Africa with operational level planning, mission command over assigned and allocated forces, and to promote interoperability with NATO allies and partners,” said, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski, V Corps Commander.
The consolidation of U.S. Army Africa and SETAF-AF will help synergize the effects at the operational and tactical level of the U.S. Army with NATO allies, according to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, Commander of SETAF-AF.
“While NATO itself is developing its role in Africa, our NATO allies have had a long-term presence in Africa, and the effects that we’ll have between those allies across NATO and across the continent will be much easier for us to coordinate,” he said.
On the relationship between LANDCOM and counterpart U.S. land forces commands in Europe, Cloutier says he sees it only getting stronger.