STUTTGART, Germany -- Recently, Special Operations Command Europe regional development planners brought together U.S. Embassy country team members and special operations force providers for the annual Operations, Activities and Actions Conference.

The conference allows U.S. Embassy country team members and special operations force providers to focus on future training engagements throughout the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. This year's conference focused on planning engagements for fiscal year 2013 and re-addressed planned engagements for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

"Given competing global demands, our priority going into the conference was to communicate reasonable expectations as to force availability from 10th Special Forces Group," said a 10th SFG (A) operations officer.

Additionally, the conference allows subordinate units to provide input to SOCEUR on their concerns and limitations regarding engagements in the EUCOM area of responsibility.

"It's always tough to guess what the future will hold, but it's a fundamental requirement for planning," said Col. Joseph King, SOCEUR Regional Development Branch chief. "It's also important to build enough flexibility into the plan to be able to adapt to unforeseen changes in the environment."

In order to ensure SOCEUR is meeting the needs of allied and partner nations, regional specialists conduct breakout sessions with country team personnel during the conference.

"On occasion, we on the SOCEUR staff overshoot goals for a particular country's SOF," King said. "The interaction with country team reps during the conference often keeps us in the 'zone of the possible.' Sometimes there are political, economic or other variables we just don't see that country teams bring to our attention."

During the conference, SOCEUR planners and country team representatives identified two major training opportunities for fiscal year 2013.

"We're expecting to have 14 privately contracted instructors with up to three JSOAC-E [Joint Special Operations Air Component-Europe] officers' oversight to conduct these engagements," said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Silbermann.

The Czech Republic and Hungary are among several nations identified in SOCEUR's Aviation Foreign Internal Defense Mobile Training Team strategy.

"... We are looking forward to expanding it to other countries for development of Special Operations Aviation Task Units capable of deploying to ISAF as well as any contingency operations in support of SOF," Silbermann added.

The OAA Conference is a crucial milestone for developing the ties that bind U.S. and international SOF, King added.

"The week-long face-to-face meetings hugely facilitate the subsequent visits, phone calls and e-mails that keep the process on track until the ultimate goal is achieved - greater SOF interoperability between U.S. SOF and our European allies and partners," he said.