By Tatjana Christian (TRADOC)March 27, 2012
FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- More than 20 personnel from 16 different countries from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Foreign Liaison Officer Program work together with their U.S. counterparts each day at TRADOC Headquarters in Fort Eustis Va.
The FLO program is managed by the International Army Programs Directorate, Army Capabilities Integration Center, and Jeff Hawkins, Foreign Liaison Program director, said he believes the program is one of the principal ways the U.S. Army builds relationships with other nations.
"It's important because it provides face-to-face contact between representatives of FLO armies and key individuals at TRADOC working initiatives. Hawkins said. "It provides an excellent way to exchange information that provides value to all armies."
Lt. Col. Kim Por Kerk, the Singapore army foreign liaison officer, said working at TRADOC has provided some valuable lessons in modeling how Soldiers train and learn.
"How (TRADOC) models training - to take note of the learner's characteristics, to be learner-centric and then build a system around the learner to bring the training to the next level by using technology … is something similar to our beliefs, and we can learn a lot from the U.S. Army on those aspects," Kerk said.
Col. Bertrand Darras the French army foreign liaison officer, said he believes close relationships provide the basis for interoperability, which allows respective armies not only to work together, but to learn from each other.
"I think what we are looking for through this close relationship is first interoperability, and the interoperability is not only to consider the technological issue, it is essentially an intellectual one, a question of mindset," Darras said.
Building close working relationships is also essential to building partner capacity, or BPC, a concept developed to increase capabilities and capacity for future forces while engaging in building stronger relationships with foreign armies.
BPC contributes to strengthening international security capacities to deter potential adversaries and prepare for wartime efforts according to the 2012 Army Posture Statement. In continuing to build partner capacity within the command, Gen. Robert W. Cone, TRADOC commanding general, hosted a Foreign Liaison Officers quarterly meeting at TRADOC headquarters, which provided an opportunity to discuss initiatives with mutual interest among the nations.
During the meeting, Cone provided updates on current U.S. Army issues, including budget cuts, future Base Realignment and Closure decisions and think tank discussions. He also said as the U.S. puts more forces in the Asian Pacific regions, it has to be clear and ensure the terms are acceptable with its allies.
The FLOs were also given the opportunity to ask questions about the Army's Posture as it relates to regionally aligned forces and rotational forces and bilateral operations. During this quarterly meeting, the Italian and Denmark FLOs provided updates on their respective armies.
During the meeting, the Italian and Denmark armies said they're downsizing their military forces. Italy is undergoing a transformation to restructure its army and capabilities through operational procedures.
Denmark's army reached multiple milestones throughout its transformation since 2004, relating to technology, training and integration. They are creating a doctrine on building partner capacity, which will be finalized in 2012/2013. Additional major decisions include materiel changes such as a new armored personnel carrier and field artillery system. They are in the process of developing a white paper regards to integration of special operation forces, military police, civil affairs and psychological operations.
FLOs are assigned to TRADOC headquarters for a period of two to three years and throughout the year, they attend many strategic communication and planning events to include Unified Quest, Joint Warfighting Conferences and the Training and Doctrine Conference.