From Angela Funaro, Allied Command Operations:  The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) made his first visit to Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) Headquarters on Tuesday , 9 July 2013, since assuming command of NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and U.S. European Command last May. . . .

General [Philip M.] Breedlove told the command group and staff that the most important reason for Allied Land Command’s (LANDCOM) existence was to retain the level of cooperation, cohesiveness, tactics, techniques, procedures, competencies and capabilities that the Alliance has developed over the past 12 years deployed together as part of the International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan.

"I’m afraid that if we do nothing, it will all go away,” he said. "LANDCOM is the first line of defence to hang onto ‘jointness’ as potentially the lead ground element for the Alliance to perform joint operational functions such as fire support, intelligence, communications and sustainment. . . .”

Breedlove then reviewed the certification exercise (CERTEX) calendar and asked if LANDCOM or the GRF(L)s could only manage one evaluation for one corps per year. Hodges replied that he didn’t think NATO could afford to only plan one a year to meet the Level of Ambition.

"We need to create a training community or have a structure in place so that we can conduct multiple exercises simultaneously, both virtually and live,” said [LANDCOM commander, Lt. General Frederick "Ben”] Hodges.

[LANDCOM’s assistant Chief of Staff Col. Gordon] Falconer explained that in the future, a CERTEX needs scenario development that is focused beyond the NATO Response Force (NRF) level, collaboration with AIRCOM and MARCOM, augmentation and communication network protocol compatibility to facilitate effective command and control. . . .

The SACEUR reiterated that he would challenge each NATO component command to develop a training and certification program for 2015 and beyond to consolidate and condense resources and expects them to conduct fewer exercises.

"We can’t afford a hodge podge of exercises and training focused on the preparation of individual units,” said Breedlove. "We need to plan ones geared for two to three groups of training audiences.”  

Story by Lt. Col. Angela Funaro, U.S. Army.  (photo: Adj. Edouard Bocquet/NATO)