Leaders across USAREUR-AF converge for Winter Commander’s Conference
U.S. Army Europe and Africa held its annual Winter Commander’s Conference—which brought together commissioned and non-commissioned officers from NATO, Europe and Africa commands—January 17-19, at Clay Kaserne in Wiesbaden, Germany. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

WIESBADEN, Germany – U.S. Army Europe and Africa held its annual Winter Commander’s Conference - which brought together commissioned and non-commissioned officers from NATO, Europe and Africa commands - January 17-19, at Clay Kaserne in Wiesbaden, Germany.

“Our mission sets in NATO, in Europe, in Africa, and even beyond are not mutually exclusive,” said U.S. Army Gen. Darryl A. Williams, commander of both U.S. Army Europe and Africa and NATO Allied Land Component Command, who challenged conference attendees to embrace convergence of their missions. “Think through our interdependencies, think through our interlinkages, and think through how we come closer together as one NATO.”

Leaders from across the European and African theaters spoke on their command priorities and how they fit into the larger strategic picture, sharing ideas and solutions in presentations and in valuable one-on-one discussions.

“The most valuable thing at this conference was the opportunity to establish context of the strategic environment, challenges and priorities,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kisha Thomas, of U.S. Army NATO Brigade, “as well as directly build relationships that could become force multipliers to shape positive outcomes.”

General topics covered at the conference included USAREUR-AF’s community environment, data dominance and upcoming exercises.

The conference also included multiple discussions on the Alliance’s defense plans, which had been agreed to at the July NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, with an eye toward their executability.

In a January 18 press briefing following a meeting of NATO Chiefs of Defense and invitee Sweden, which occurred at NATO headquarters in Brussels Belgium, Royal Netherlands Navy Adm. Rob Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, said, “Allies are now actually working to maximize the executability of these new defense plans, but we need to do more to deter and defend any potential threat.”

Gen. Williams also took the opportunity during the conference to present the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award to five winners. The award recognizes company-grade and junior warrant officers who demonstrate MacArthur’s ideals of “Duty, Honor, Country,” and have a proven record of extraordinary performance, leadership, and achievement.

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