The Chief of the German Army visits the Pentagon

By Lt. Col. Jeffery M. Fritz, United States Army Exchange Officer, German Army CommandFebruary 16, 2024

WASHINGTON — Gen. Randy A. George, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, met with his German counterpart, Lt. Gen. Alfons Mais, to the Pentagon on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy A. George meets with his German counterpart, Lt. Gen. Alfon Mais to sign the Strategic Vision Statement between the German and United States armies, Feb. 1, 2024.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy A. George meets with his German counterpart, Lt. Gen. Alfon Mais to sign the Strategic Vision Statement between the German and United States armies, Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Agrinsoni ) VIEW ORIGINAL

The visit served as an opportunity to bilaterally approve the new Strategic Vision Statement between the German and United States armies. The Strategic Vision Statement focuses on “enhancing the ability to operate together across the full spectrum of operations as part of combined and joint forces through three lines of effort consisting of: Strategic Engagement, Interoperability, and Security Cooperation.” The Strategic Vision’s end state is to have both armies interoperable at the compatible level across all priority focus areas based upon NATO standards and doctrine, with the following four objectives completed by 2030:

  1. A German Army brigade operates under a U.S. Army division.
  2. A U.S. Army brigade operates under a German Army division.
  3. A German Army division operates under a U.S. Army corps.
  4. A. U.S. Army division operates under a multinational corps with Germany as a framework nation.
Chief of the German Army Lt. Gen. Alfons Mais, accompanied by Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Randy A. George, lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a distinguished foreign visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Feb. 1, 2024.
Chief of the German Army Lt. Gen. Alfons Mais, accompanied by Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Randy A. George, lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a distinguished foreign visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Feb. 1, 2024. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Bernardo Fuller) VIEW ORIGINAL

Lt. Gen. Mais was also welcomed by Gen. George and Maj. Gen. Trevor Bredenkamp, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, to Arlington National Cemetery, where a German wreath was laid on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a formal paying of respect to the sacrifices of America’s veterans. Mais then visited and paid silent respects at the grave of 1st Sgt. Anton Hilberath, the only German Soldier to be buried at Arlington.

Mais also took the opportunity to share the latest developments and turning points regarding the German Army with Gen. George, focusing on training cooperation, the NATO force model and support to Ukraine.

Regarding training cooperation, Mais highlighted that over 12,000 German Soldiers are involved with Allied Spirit 24, Defender Europe 24 and Quadriga 24. The German Army will also be sending observers to Austere Challenge 24 in preparation for German Army participation in Warfighter Exercise 25-4 and Warfighter Exercise 26-3. Also, as of Jan. 25, 2024, the German Army has officially requested a Warfighter Exercise Rotation in 2030 with the focus on their 1st Panzer Division as the training audience in order to continue to build interoperability with the U.S. Army.

Mais underlined that as of 2025, the German Army will provide a division to NATO (the 10th Panzer Division) that will be ready to deploy within 10–30 days as a NATO Tier 2 formation. The division will consist of two German armored brigades, one of which will eventually be permanently pre-deployed in Lithuania. A third brigade is planned to be provided by the Netherlands, as the German and the Dutch armies have developed a particularly close relationship over the years, and a Dutch brigade is already an integrated part of the 10th Panzer Division. In addition, two German divisions (1st Panzer Division and the Rapid Forces Division) will be provided to NATO as Tier 3 forces ready to deploy within 30–180 days. Subsequently the entire German field army is foreseen to be provided to NATO with a primary focus on NATO’s eastern flank.

Mais emphasized that during 2023, the German contributions to the Special Training Command resulted in approximately 10,000 trained Ukrainian Soldiers, and it’s projected that an additional 10,000 will be trained in 2024. Much of this training has focused on highly specialized instruction, such as training on Leopard tanks, Marder armored personnel carriers, PzH 2000 armored artillery, and Gepard armored anti-air defense systems. Germany bilaterally has also contributed €17.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine by providing 450 armored vehicles and 1,052 unarmored vehicles.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Randy A. George presents German Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mais the Legion of Merit in the degree of Commander for his contributions to enhancing the bilateral cooperation of the German and United States armies.
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Randy A. George presents German Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mais the Legion of Merit in the degree of Commander for his contributions to enhancing the bilateral cooperation of the German and United States armies. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Agrinsoni) VIEW ORIGINAL

During an official ceremony conducted by the Continental Color Guard, 4th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), Gen. George presented Lt. Gen. Mais a Legion of Merit in the degree of Commander for his significant contributions to enhancing the bilateral cooperation of the German and United States Armies, and to thank him for his steadfast commitment to the alliance.