The Atlantic Council of the United States
U.S. Army Europe and the Future of U.S. Forward Presence
Welcome and Moderator:
Senior Fellow, International Security Program,
The Atlantic Council
Lieutenant General Mark Hertling,
U.S. Army Europe
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: Monday, July 11, 2011
Federal News Service
IAN BRZEZINSKI: Good afternoon. Can everyone hear me? Or do I need to use the mic or do I need to speak loud? You can hear me, OK.
Well, welcome to the Atlantic Council and welcome to our commanders series.
My name is Ian Brzezinski. I’m a senior fellow here with the Council’s International Security Program. This series, the commanders series, is sponsored by Saab North America and it brings to the committee and this community senior military commanders who are willing to share their perspectives and insights on key national security issues before the United States, its allies and its partners.
And we’ve had a long list of impressive speakers, to include the chief of staff of the Army, General Casey, General Abrial, commander of ACT – Allied Command Transformation – down in Norfolk, Admiral Jim Stavridis, commander of EUCOM, and others.
We’re very proud of this program. We’re very grateful for the long-time sponsorship that Saab North America has provided. And let me thank the CEO of Saab North America, Dan-Ake Enstedt and Henrik Liljegren for their sustained leadership and support in this series.
You know, there is no more tangible demonstration of U.S. commitment to the security of our allies and partners than the deployment of U.S. forces, U.S. personnel in their regions.
Indeed, the joint training and operations that flow from this presence, not to mention the relationships they engender, are the cornerstone of the ability of U.S. forces to work effectively together with allied and partner militaries in what is an increasingly complex and technologically dynamic battle space.
We’re grateful this afternoon to have Lieutenant General Mark Hertling with us to hear his perspective on how – on the future of U.S. foreign presence. He commands the 42,000 U.S. Army personnel stationed in Europe, forces that not only ensure America’s ability to fulfill its Article V commitments under the Washington Treaty – NATO – but these are forces that have also regularly served and sacrificed on behalf of the United States and our allies in the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere around the world.
Iraq and Afghanistan of course are the most prominent zones of conflict where these forces have been operating. The fact that both the United States and European forces have been engaged together in these two conflicts is profound testimony to the value that forward presence in NATO brings to U.S. security.
But today, both the United States and European forces are buffeted by a triad of increasing operational demands, increasingly complex battlefield and what portends to be a long bout of fiscal austerity. Maximizing the fighting power of U.S. and allied forces under the yoke of these three challenges has become an increasingly challenging and urgent priority of USAREUR.
General Mark Hertling has agreed to share with us this afternoon his insights on these dynamics and challenges concerning the role of USAREUR and U.S. forward presence. He took command of USAREUR – United States Army Europe – and 7th Army in March of this year.
And to this command he brings a great experience as a proven combat leader, a trainer of fighting men and women and one whose career has actually brought him a fair amount of time – of deployed time in Europe. He’s a native of Missouri, a graduate of West Point where he joined – where he became a tanker, and as a second lieutenant his first assignment was to lead a platoon in Germany.
He returned to Europe as a major serving on the staff of the 1st Armored Division, a division that he later commanded in his career. He’s also commanded the Army’s 1st Striker Brigade. He’s commanded the Joint Multinational Training Command in Germany. He’s been on the Joint Staff serving as a deputy J-7 and then as a J-7, and I think in current lingo the J-7 is operational force plans and joint force development.
In his last position, he was the first deputy commanding general for initial military training. That responsibility oversees 160,000 men and women who enter the armed forces – the Army as either officers or enlisted men. And during his tenure over there, he made significant changes to the physical and competency regimens. These young men and women get their experience.
He’s had three combat tours all in Iraq, first in Operation Desert Storm, twice under Operation Iraqi Freedom, the most recent when he commanded Task Force Iron in Northern Iraq in 2007-2008 where he successfully integrated kinetic and nonkinetic strategies to significantly reduce levels of violence in that region.
Like many of our senior NCOs and general officers, our flag officers, he’s highly educated – two master’s degrees in national security and I have to mention also a master’s in physical education.
So he’s highly published, (and in which ?) he’s got articles on media and the military, narcoterrorism, unconventional war, but also articles on physical fitness that have appeared in Triathlon Magazine, Swimming Technique and other – and other journals. He’s highly decorated. I won’t list them all but I will say they include the Purple Heart.
Mark, the floor is yours. Thank you for your time.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL MARK HERTLING: Thank you very much. (Applause.) I asked Ian to reduce the – whatever the introduction was going to be, I asked him to reduce it by half. But I’m glad he put the part in about the physical education piece because if I start failing in terms of our strategy in Europe, I can do a couple pushups for you if you like.
I have some notes, but I’d like to stray from them a little bit and tell you that Ian mentioned in 1995 when I was commissioned a second lieutenant of armor, I reported in to Schweinfurt, Germany, and that was at the time part of what we kiddingly called the imperial army of the Rhine. About a quarter million soldiers were in Europe – soldiers, U.S. Army soldiers in Europe, a quarter million with close to 300,000 dependents.
And it was the tripwire, as you all know. I mean, no one knows it better than this organization. When I went back in the late ’80s and before the peace dividend, when the wall was still up and as a young cavalry major we were still doing interborder border duty and border patrol, there were about 110,000 soldiers there. It had been reduced significantly then too.
As the peace dividend occurred and we reduced even further in the early 2000s when General B.B. Bell was the commander of forces in Europe, he received a decree from Mr. Rumsfeld that said, we should take the 80,000 or so that were in U.S. Army Europe and reduce it to 24,000 soldiers.
In about the year 2007, that was put on hold because of the new secretary of defense that had come on board thinking that the number of 24,000 didn’t have a whole lot of mission analysis associated with it or troop-to-task analysis. And General McKiernan, who was the CG of Europe at the time, said, hey, we need to do a little bit more analysis and persuaded the EUCOM commander and the new secretary to allow him to do that.
You all know that in April the new force posture for Europe was announced. And it was frankly about what we thought – about what we thought is the right size for U.S. Army in Europe. I’m not going to talk about the other forces – the Air Force or the Navy. But I will tell you that in our analysis the three brigade set was about right.
Now, that’s received a whole lot of attention – three brigades as opposed to four brigades as opposed to two brigades. But frankly that’s only about – if we’re talking numbers, and I want to get away from numbers very quickly and talk more the philosophy of what we’re doing there – three brigades is about 15,000 soldiers.
That’s less than a half of what will remain in Europe because there are the enablers. There are the aviation units, the signal units, the logistics units, the training center Grafenwoehr, which I consider the crown jewel of what we have over there for our key EUCOM missions.
So three brigades, four brigades, it’s a wash, frankly, to me. And what I would suggest is the three brigades in Europe is exactly what we need for the future for our missions of collective security as part of the NATO force, for building partner capacity, for theater security cooperation and for a forward presence.
OK, I’m your feedback mechanism. The policy made – the policy’s been made. The force will be in place in 2014 and I’m now here to tell you how I see my command in about the next five minutes. Well, first of all, European nations in my view – and by the way, I need to revert back a second. I’ve spent – I’ve had a total of 36 years in the Army. I’m thinking of making it a career. Twelve of my – 12 of my years have been spent in Europe.
So I am a firm believer in what we have there and partnering with our allies on the continent. Now, there are 51 countries that make up our footprint. We partner with 45 of those. And you say, well, what about the other six? The other six are, like, the Holy See. You know, they are smaller countries whose armies are not that significant that we would see a real need to partner with them.
But I’ll almost separate them into Eastern, Central and Western Europe and we can talk about that in just a minute. But the role that the U.S. Army in Europe plays today is exceedingly different than it was when I was a young second lieutenant guarding the East/West German border as part of a cavalry regiment. Of course, you say, it is.
But the biggest thing that has remained is the fact that the NATO alliance, the European alliance is truly in my view the only alliance we have as a nation. That sometimes doesn’t receive too many remarks. But the fact of the matter is when Bill Caldwell in Afghanistan today talks about going someplace to get more trainers, he always talks about let’s go to NATO and get them.
Why is that? Well, because the U.S. currently has about 100,000 forces in Afghanistan, and we’ll use that as an example, and about 50,000 allied forces in Afghanistan of which about 87 percent come from the continent of Europe. And oh, by the way, about 60 percent of that – easy 70 percent train with us – the U.S. Army – at Grafenwoehr or at their home station locations, and we can talk a little bit about that in the questions and answer period.
So our forces in Europe, those currently four brigades, soon to be three brigades with all the enablers have deployed over the last 10 years to the point where at any given time there’s about 40 percent of our total forces not on the continent.
Instead it is deployed to another forward location, either Iraq, Afghanistan, Horn of Africa, Kosovo. But in fact on any given day – and today the number’s actually about 42 percent of our force is deployed, most of it in Afghanistan, a smaller portion in Iraq and about 1,500 still in Kosovo – you can kind of see that we are an ocean closer to the kinds of conflicts we might have.
We’re also contributing to the operations in Libya and some of the other places in North Africa. But the biggest thing of not only the requirement I have to train our forces – U.S. Army forces for contingency operations is to train them to work with our alliances.
And one of the bumper stickers that I currently have is you can’t – and this is a savvy audience so when I say RFF – or request for forces, which had become such a popular term in that five-sided building across the way – when you say RFF forces, what I would suggest to you is you can’t RFF trust. And it is the trust between nations that we exhibit as we train and build partner capacity at both our training centers and the foreign training centers across the board.
The roles we have – when the final set is in place, when the force posture announcement that occurred in April comes to fruition in 2015, we will have about 40,000 forces – U.S. Army forces remaining in Europe. It has been – the headquarters, my position, as you all know, has been degraded from a four-star position to a three-star position. I’m exceedingly happy about that for two reasons.
Number one, it’s about right. A three-star should command about that many people. And secondly, had it not been degraded, I probably wouldn’t be commanding there. So I’m quite happy about the assignment.
But what I tell you we do that sometimes goes over the transom without a whole lot of people understanding it, with that set of about 40,000 soldiers we will be the Army service component command for not only EUCOM but for AFRICOM as well.
And we’re supporting the combatant commands currently of CENTCOM, TRANSCOM. We will support STRATCOM as we talk about the missile defense and SOCOM because of our relationship with Special Operations Command Europe.
We are seeing some huge advantages in terms of a transmodal route through Romania and Bulgaria as part of the northern supply route into Afghanistan that gives us other options besides going through Pakistan. We are certainly, as you know – as I said a minute ago – supporting CENTCOM significantly. And most importantly, we are the land advocate for other NATO forces and non-NATO forces.
The amount of time that I spend in theater security cooperation and dealing with other ground force commanders and chiefs of defense and ministers of defense is significant. It makes up, according to my staff, about 33 percent of my time. So that’s who we are.
What I’m concerned about is over the last 10 years we have been able to provide motivation for those who we train with who are providing forces for things like operations in Iraq and part of ISAF in Afghanistan because they know they are going into combat. And frankly, having been in Europe between the years of 2000 – well, I was assigned to Europe between 2003 and 2008. I was only there three years of that time because the rest of the time I was in Iraq. But having been there and seeing the changes in our European armies, especially the Eastern European armies, it’s been significant.
So what I would suggest to you is U.S. Army in Europe has been a contributor to that, that especially the Eastern Europeans that have been contributing to ISAF and the roles in Iraq have changed dramatically, especially some specific countries like Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, the Czech Republic and others. I mean, that’s just an example – Ukraine – have significantly improved to the point where in 2003 we were talking about a lack of partner capacity and not – or having too many national caveats.
Today I will tell you in talking to the commanders that I talk with in the United States military, our allies are fighting and they’re hunting in Afghanistan. They’re doing more than they did before because they have had the motivation to train with us and to fight with us knowing they’re going into combat.
The challenge will be for me – and it’s something I’m already posing to my NATO allies – is what about post-ISAF? What will your armies look like and what will be your focus of attention beyond 2014, because for the last 10 years we’ve been concentrating on a counterinsurgency environment. In the future it will have to be a hybrid threat or what we’re calling in the U.S. military a full spectrum operation. That’s my concern.
So what I’ve tried to portray to you is the status of the command, where we are today, where we are going to be in the future, what we’re doing and what my concerns are for the future in addition to just convincing people in this fair, provincial city that we actually still have a role and it’s not defending the Fulda Gap.
So what that, Ian, I think we could probably take some questions and answers or I – we can take some questions and we’ll try to provide some answers.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Mark, those were great remarks to kick off what I think will be a good discussion. Let me push you with the first couple of questions before I share it with our guests here. You know, Admiral Stavridis a year-and-a-half, two years ago came out and said, got to have the four BCTs – four brigade combat teams.
I think I know what your answer is, but he did agree in the end, I guess, to an acquiescence, said, all right, we can remove one. His language to the Hill was fairly strong. It was that there will be risk if we go down additional levels on the BCTs. What changed?
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, you know, and any time these kind of days we will see some changes in the operational requirements based on either the completion of the assumptions or a changing in the facts. A couple of things changed, actually.
I think the first thing that changed was the conditions in places where we were deploying brigades to changed. The drawdown in Iraq was finalized. Some political decisions was made – were made about the drawdown in Afghanistan.
So if you take a look at the timing of the brigade set in Europe, it was really based on what our brigades could do to partner with foreign countries. The current – I hate to use the word “spin” but the current spin that I’m using with my allies as we go around is, hey, in 2015 when we have three brigades and they’re not – and 40 percent of them aren’t going to Iraq or Afghanistan, we will actually have more units to partner with you than we have today.
So that’s number one. The other thing that’s changed, frankly, is the fact that the size of the Army is going to change and the number of brigades that we have in the Army is going to change.
What I would suggest is even though one brigade is coming out, what our current chief of staff has done in terms of relooking force design within the U.S. military, which hasn’t been finalized yet and approved, but it’s going to look at adding another maneuver battalion to every brigade.
So in fact what we will have are multiple maneuver battalions where in fact now there are only two. That makes our size of the force in Europe about the same. In fact, I actually have some problems in that regard because we were planning for a three brigade set as long ago as a year ago and with the three brigade set with improved up-gunning of number of people, we’ve got some MILCON issues in places – some challenges with where we’re going to put these soldiers, so.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: That’ll be interesting to see how you can squeeze out MILCON funds in this environment.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, right.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Let me throw a second question at you. You know, one of the issues we’ve tracked closely here at the Atlantic Council was the evolution and then the promulgation at the Lisbon Summit of the new strategic concept.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: And that of course is an important doctrinal statement by the alliance that flows down into missions and responsibilities. I’d be interested in hearing from your perspective – a person responsible, so to speak, for boots on the ground – in terms of executing the strategic concept. How has the new strategic concept affected your life, your responsibilities, the roles and missions and the tasks that your units have to fulfill?
GEN. HERTLING: From a U.S. Army Europe perspective, it hasn’t changed it that much because our goal is to build alliances, build the trust between organizations, train with our European partners, help them build their partner capacity while at the same time broadening our own experiences, so not much has changed there in terms of an exercise or training approach.
So the number one thing of the Lisbon Summit of the shift toward more emphasis on collective security is not affecting me all that much in terms of how we train or who we train with. The thing that also is something that I can’t really solve but which is a challenge within NATO is the whole-of-government approach, which is an important part of what was announced at the Lisbon Summit but I know from listening in at various NATO conferences I’ve been to is still causing a great deal of confusion about how we execute that with the whole-of-government in the various nations. I mean, many of our partner nations in the NATO alliance are just having – are still having problems with military forces.
Good God, I mean, imagine trying to get them to contribute politicians and treasury officials and the rest of the things that go along with the whole-of-government approach. So those are sorts of the discussions that are going on at the NAC right now that are complex. But what’s interesting is they’re talking about them.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Has a whole-of-government approach, a comprehensive approach in NATO dripped down to EUCOM forces, USAREUR forces in the same way that whole-of-government approaches and the U.S. approach and the U.S. military doctrine has affected your responsibilities and your units?
GEN. HERTLING: Truthfully, from the military perspective – I mean, this is a common refrain I think among people wearing the uniform, is we are talking a lot about it but there’s not much getting done about it. I mean, I’m even seeing from within the U.S. military forces there is some increased emphasis on the comprehensive approach within our doctrine.
But it’s military guys writing military doctrine that influences other people. You mentioned I was the J-7 on the Joint Staff. One of my biggest lessons as the operational planner and war gamer – war planner on the Joint Staff was the fact we had an exercise at SAIC once where we pulled in a lot of government officials to talk about a particular war plan, which I won’t go into.
But we got to Annex Victor, Annex V of the war plan, which is the interagency annex. And as we got all these people from the agency – the interagency around – saying, OK, this is what you’re going to do, we started having people from Treasury and State and DOJ – who says we’re going to do that?
Well, it’s because we wrote it as war planners and we’re making the assumption that you’re going to do that. And I remember one guy from the Department of Justice saying, well, you better make another assumption, sparky, because we’re not going to do it for you.
So I mean, we tend to do that a lot, of making assumptions because we are by culture a military planning culture that sometimes other people haven’t bought into. I don’t know if that’s going too far afield from your question. But we’re still focused on the interagency approach to U.S. military operations and we’ve seen somewhat of a – we’ve seen a modicum of a success but not – it’s not been overwhelming.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Well, it’s challenging.
GEN. HERTLING: It is challenging.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: I mean, it’s organizationally, bureaucratically challenging.
GEN. HERTLING: Culturally.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: It’s culturally challenging, forcing people into new areas.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Let me turn the floor over to our guests over here and let me just ask that, you know, please give your name, your affiliation and keep your point of your question somewhat brief because we want to hear from mark. But let me start with Stu.
Q: Yeah, thank you. Stu Johnson from Rand. Thanks, General Hertling, for a very interesting context for thinking about this. You brushed up against an important context for you which is that the Army is reorganizing at the very time you’re reorganizing and reorienting your mission.
What is it about the modular force that the Army is moving towards that is going to be helpful to you? What would you find less helpful – and I understand that the theory is you’re going to have a certain amount of say over how those brigade combat teams coming to you are put together. So what kind of capabilities are you looking to enhance as these new BCTs come on board?
GEN. HERTLING: Well, there are currently four combat brigades – ground brigades – in Europe. We have an airborne brigade in Vicenza. We have a Stryker brigade at Vilseck, part of Grafenwoehr. And then we have two infantry-heavy brigades, modular brigades that are – one at Baumholder and the other one at Grafenwoehr. One of those two will go away.
I’ve recommended – I’m sorry – that one of those two go away. We certainly want to keep the airborne brigade. We want to keep the Stryker brigade because that’s what our allies want. And one of the two infantry brigades will go away. We’ve made a recommendation as to which one but I can’t talk about that. They are all modular brigades.
They all fit the same kind of modular pattern that a brigade at Fort Hood or Fort Bragg or anybody else would fit. The advantages of having those kind of modular brigades are they are fighting forces within themselves. They have everything they need. They can deploy on a moment’s notice. They don’t need any enablers to maintain them as part of brigades.
The downside – and this was part of the design in U.S. Army Europe – is the tactical headquarters which overwatches them. That’s going to be one of our biggest challenges and that’s something I’m working right now. In the past, again, the imperial army of the Rhine, we had – we had – I can’t count the number of brigades we had.
But we also had four division headquarters, two corps headquarters and a couple of armored cavalry units, all with one- and two-star and three-star generals ahead. What we currently have – and we currently have it today – is we have 11 different brigades – combat brigades – across the footprint plus an additional 12 noncombat brigades, so a total of 23 colonel-level commands are in Europe right now.
And there’s no one between them and me. So the whole leadership, mentoring, counseling, training between the three-star headquarters and the colonel-level commands is somewhat challenging. But we’re working our way through that and I think we’ve got some solutions.
So, good and bad – the brigade – the modular brigade is a plug-and-play organization. It’s a pretty good organization. It’s the training of those colonels that take over the brigade that occurs before they take the brigade that’s somewhat problematic.
Q: Thank you.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Is part of your solution possibly including bringing back some general officers to fill that gap between a three-star and an O6?
GEN. HERTLING: No. I mean, it would be part of my solution but it’s not part of the Army’s solution. We are going to have the corps headquarters.
As part of the transformation efforts, 5th Corps was supposed to inactivate and we were literally down to 10 people when we received a message – 10 people that were still remaining where the rest of them at this corps headquarters went away, went off on other orders, went to different places – when we received orders from the Department of the Army about a day after I took command that said, nope, build them back up to be a valid corps headquarters for an operational mission.
And I’d prefer not to go into that but we will have a three-star headquarters in Europe that is not encumbered with any of those brigades because they’re going somewhere else in the future. And we’ve got to build that and train that force.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Arnaud?
Q: Arnaud de Borchgrave, CSIS. General, how is morale impacted about ISAF and NATO partners when they see the Dutch and Canadian parliaments recalling their forces, when they see various caveats among the others and also when the president himself in this country tells you when we are leaving?
GEN. HERTLING: Well, I don’t want to speak for ISAF. I can imagine, having been a commander in combat, what that might do. But what I will tell you is my experience has been in dealing with the European partners, they are all still in it. And in fact I happened to be in Georgia, I was in Tbilisi the day that the president came on the television and said what was going to happen.
And I was sitting across the table from the deputy defense minister and he said – and by the way, he had just – the Georgian deputy minister had just publicly stated that they were going to double the size of their force supporting ISAF from one battalion to two. So his first comment to me was, General, I don’t understand, when we’re doubling, why are you drawing down?
And I had to walk him through that it wasn’t quite a drawdown as perceived, that the announcement was somewhat twisted a little bit by the media, that we’re still in it together. But I can imagine where some people might see that and say, what’s going on. Mixed messages from governmental sources will always do that in alliances.
I probably didn’t answer your question. I don’t want to comment on the morale within ISAF because it’s not my organization. But the morale in Europe is good and the beer is even better. (Chuckles.) I’m just saying, OK.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Sir?
Q: (Off mic.) Thank you. Could you elaborate a little more on your role as a component command of AFRICOM? How much time do you spend of your job concerning Africa and what are the most important projects there?
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah. Technically I am not the component commander of AFRICOM. That is still Major General Dave Hogg, who is commanding in Vicenza, Italy. He is considered an ASCC of General Ham’s AFRICOM force. But all of his forces that work on that base are part of U.S. Army Europe.
As we’re looking at things right now, and this has not been announced but I think what we’re going to see in terms of the ASCC role, he will become a subcomponent of U.S. Army Europe and we provide much of the support to him. How much do I – how much time do I spend in Africa? Not much because Dave does it. He is traveling usually about six days a week in some very tough situations. But he has that engagement staff with the continent of AFRICOM under the direct supervision of General Ham as the AFRICOM commander.
Q: But you do have people in Africa?
GEN. HERTLING: Do I have people in Africa? I do. I do.
Q: And what are the main projects there?
GEN. HERTLING: Civil affairs projects, humanitarian relief, crisis response issues. We are supporting other operations in the AFRICOM AOR and I’d like to leave it at that, from USAREUR, primarily through intelligence and logistic support.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: You know, when you look down the pike and you look at your 42,000 personnel serving essentially EUCOM and AFRICOM, one could go, that’s sufficient because in the past those forces supported U.S. interests in the Europe-Eurasia AOR and the Africa AOR when EUCOM used to have that responsibility.
But when you look at some of the continued challenges that you find in the EUCOM AOR, the Article V responsibilities, I would argue some of the instability and unanswered questions about relations with countries to the East – Russia – and then you look at Africa, which is a continent that’s becoming more and more immediately – of a more and more immediate interest to the United States, whose changes, whose volatility is having more than just regional implications, is there enough in EUCOM?
And I don’t think the answer could be, well, we can always use forces to serve our interests in Africa from CONUS. But the fact is is that we probably want to approach challenges in Africa together with the Europeans.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah. I think those are all valid concerns. What I would suggest, though – and I don’t mean – to revert back to what you said, we can always draw forces in Europe, but these – or from the continental United States. But our forces in Europe are the forward-deployed immediate response forces.
And I think given the size of our Army, because we cannot be everywhere and the redesign of our ARFORGEN – Army force generation posture – just like the Navy and the Air Force will do in terms of generating forces for a specific location, I think we can do that. But I think our initial response capacities are pretty significant.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Barry? I know you know Barry from here.
GEN. HERTLING: Hi, Barry, how are you? Good seeing you again.
Q: Quick question. This is a time over the next year certainly and leading up to the NATO summit in Chicago where we’ll have to really talk to the American taxpayer, officials like you and others in the government, about what is the value, what is the sort of direct relevance, how can we continue to justify and fund all of the different things we’re going overseas. I’m sure you’re familiar with the pressures.
But – and so I know that there’s – that you’re training Army units and working with partner units to do full spectrum missions. But if you had to talk to the strategic – the types of strategic challenges that you think Army – U.S. Army Europe ground forces will face and by extension our partners over the next five years, sort of, how would you talk to the sort of average person in the street about here’s what we’re really – here’s the type of thing we’re really trying to do post-Afghanistan?
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, you know, that’s a great question, Barry. I would say it falls into a couple of categories and I’ll use the key words of assure, first of all. I mean, we’re – it is amazing to me how every country – and many of our fellow Americans don’t understand this – that every country in Europe is not any country in Europe, that each one of them has their own requirement for collective security – for homeland security and for national interest.
And I think many Americans just glump them all into one category of Europeans. And that’s unfortunate, first of all.
So when you talk about the assurance of, again, stating I was in Georgia last week and in Poland and Romania and Bulgaria the week before and in Greece over the weekend and you talk about the different competing demands of each one of those countries for their militaries as well as their economic standards or capabilities, you find some interesting dynamics.
So we assure many of our friends over there that we’re still a part of them. And many of the people we’re assuring are not members of NATO. I’ll just leave it at that. The potential for continuing to build partner capacity is most important in the Eastern European countries. Many – correction, several of them – and I’ll use the Poles as an example – took participation in the current crises of both Iraq and Afghanistan to build and transform their military.
And the Poles have just an unbelievably strong military today where that was not the case 10 years ago. And there were quite a few national caveats placed on the Poles when they were fighting in both Iraq and early stages of Afghanistan. Those almost no longer exist because the Polish government and the Polish military used combat to help transform their force.
They are a democratic military. They are no longer a Warsaw Pact military. There are other countries in Western Europe – or Eastern Europe primarily – who are still in various phases of transforming their militaries.
And all of them want help doing that. And in some cases their senior level officials are still of the Soviet Warsaw Pact ilk whereas their junior officers understand dignity and liberty and freedom and a democratic military and a professional military force too.
So there is still the requirement to help them build partner capacity in some of those forces. There are some of our European allies who are going through the same sorts of changes that we’re going through and trying to do a balancing act between a properly sized force with the meeting economic constraints. And then I’ll add one more.
So you know, we’re shifting. I’m sorry. We’re shifting on that last one from a prevail philosophy that we’ve been attempting to do over the last several years in combat to a prevent philosophy. And that’s one of the big things that’s in General Dempsey’s mantra right now, that the future force will have to be based more on preventing conflict than prevailing during conflict.
But then the final piece – you know, what I would say to anybody that comes together to discuss the alliance is we are gaining as much from it as anybody else in terms of our broadening experiences and having our soldiers and our officers experience different cultures.
I mean, I know for a fact that soldiers that are stationed in Grafenwoehr, Germany, that are dealing with nine partners during an MRE – a mission readiness exercise – before they go to Afghanistan train very differently in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels than that same size force trains at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
Why is that? Well, because at Fort Irwin, California, you hire contractors to help you train culture. At Grafenwoehr, you’ve got the Poles, the Romanians. I mean, when the 172nd, which is deploying right now, the 172nd Infantry Brigade, which is in the process of deploying today, trained in their MRE at Grafenwoehr two months ago, they had 19 different forces as part of their training event.
So when they needed an interpreter, they no kidding needed an interpreter. When they were dealing with cultural issues, they were really dealing with cultural issues. And we didn’t have to pay for it.
It was because of the force that was there. So there’s a broadening experience, I think, for the U.S. military in training over there that we sometimes don’t consider and which should be a very important part of how we deal with the world and how we maintain our strategies.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Before I turn it over to Doug, let me just build on that theme a little bit. You had talked in your opening remarks about how U.S. presence, U.S. forward presence really is sort of a force multiplier.
There is often in Washington the assertion made that, you know, we can do what we need to do through a rotational presence. We can send our units in for two weeks.
They’ll get that multinational experience and we don’t have to have all the costs associated with an overseas presence and all the problems that come with an oversea presence. You know, what from your experience is the big difference between a rotational presence and a permanent presence?
GEN. HERTLING: Well, a rotational presence certainly doesn’t get the experience. I mean, when you’re there for two weeks or a month, you don’t really understand the culture that you’re dealing with. You don’t really understand the culture that you’re dealing with. You don’t exchange the tactics, techniques and procedures. You don’t build the trust. The trust comes after months and sometimes years of working with other people.
Today, as an example, we have – today, right now – in fact, it’s over now but it happened today in Europe, we had a mass jump with the 173rd Airborne out of Vicenza, an airborne brigade, with the Polish land forces, one of their – I think it’s their 12th Polish Airborne Brigade. You know, you say, well, just get a bunch of guys together and jump out of an airplane. How tough can that be?
Well, anybody that’s done it knows how tough it is. It’s not so difficult falling out of the airplane. It’s really what happens after you get on the ground after you fall out of the airplane. Well, right now they’re conducting operations in that regard.
We had during one of our previous MRXs – and I use this example a lot – we had our 12th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Ansbach, Germany, was training with a German unit at Grafenwoehr. And they made the partnership that involved that development of trust. In combat, in Afghanistan, that German unit came under fire and 12 of their soldiers were injured and wounded.
They called their ISAF buddies from NATO for a medevac mission. Helicopters that were coming from another country which I won’t name decided their national caveats still said they couldn’t fly because it was nighttime and limited visibility. Our 12th Cav Brigade, which was about an hour-and-a-half away said, we’ll go get those soldiers. And they went and picked them up.
The German government gave those eight aviators the Gold Cross of Honor of the Bundeswehr, the first time that the German government has ever given a valor award to someone outside the Germany army. You don’t just do that. I mean, that’s built with multiple iterations of training and exercises. So that’s something like, you know, the old MasterCard commercial. It’s priceless. You can’t put a figure on something like that.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Doug?
Q: General Doug Stevenson from Raytheon.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, Doug?
Q: General, if you could comment on your views as to the – you know, since November and the decision on territorial missile defense for Europe. Do you have any view on your organization’s responsibility or active role in that capability as it evolves and as the U.S. has committed to putting land-based capability – both SM-3 and TPY2 (ph) radars into the region. How is that going to affect your organization?
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, we’re going to support it. (Chuckles.) I mean, it’s a mission really. I mean, I have no views one way or the other. It’s probably a good mission set. But what it means to me is there’s going to be more people based in Europe in a specific location with the support requirements associated with it.
Q: So you think the mission is going to fall on the Army or is it going to be shared – Navy?
GEN. HERTLING: I’m pretty much sure it is going to fall on the Army, yeah, since it’s a –
GEN. HERTLING: – land-based missile.
Q: And also maybe some of your views on the contributions that the European allies could make in this architecture. There’s talk about, of course, use of lower tier assets like Patriot and SAMT and others in Europe to help provide for allied contributions since the U.S. contribution is predominately for the upper tier.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, what I think, Doug, what you’d find interesting – and in fact I just sent a SITREP to Admiral Stavridis over this weekend saying that we’re just right now swapping our Patriot battery in Poland – in Vinjen (ph), Poland.
Not many people know this but for the last year-and-a-half we’ve had a rotational force of a Patriot battery going to Poland to do this, first of all, security arrangement with the Poles but also leading up to this.
So I’ve got a Patriot battery there today. I’ll have one there tomorrow and over the next year-and-a-half until they’re replaced by a detachment of four F-16s before they get the rest of this ballistic missile defense operational.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: What is the significance of that exercise? I mean, it’s one battery to a country that doesn’t have any missile defense systems. What is Poland getting out of it? What is the United States getting out of that?
GEN. HERTLING: Well, I think, again, it’s getting toward the assure piece of our collective security. It is a run-up to an eventual missile defense. It is the understanding that we are placing something there and it’s allowing the Poles to train on something that would contribute to their defense. Now, you and I would say, what the hell would they need a Patriot battery there for?
You talk to the Poles and they’ll tell you that they perceive threats that that Patriot battery is preventing.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: The lady here?
Q: Hi, Pam – (off mic) – with the State Department.
GEN. HERTLING: Hi, Pam. Uh-oh, did I say anything bad? Am I in trouble with the State Department?
Q: No, not at all.
GEN. HERTLING: OK.
Q: I can’t resist bringing up Secretary Gates’ recent – former Secretary Gates’ recent speech about European capabilities.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah.
Q: And I’m wondering how European capabilities or lack thereof played into the decision about Army realignment in Europe.
GEN. HERTLING: You’re talking about specifically the force posture decisions?
Q: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
GEN. HERTLING: Boy, that’s a great question.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: She’s an ally.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, I – yeah, I honestly don’t think they did play into the force posture decisions. But I’m not the right one to ask that question to. I can’t see how. I mean, the true force posture was designed based on a troop-to-task mission analysis.
Q: (Off mic.)
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah. Well, true, and what’s going to be interesting to watch, frankly, and I’ve got close eyes on this one is, OK, now that we’ve announced it, what are some of our other allies going to do in terms of potentially repositioning their forces? I won’t go any further into that one but I’ve talked to some of our bosses about that because it concerns me.
I mean, they know where we’re going to go and they know we’re about to announce which brigade is going to leave. And I think many of our allies are waiting for that to see how they can shift forces too to cover down on their homeland.
Yeah, I don’t think it played a part in the force posture decision, but what I will say is I know for a fact Mr. Gates’ comments at Brussels caused a lot of high-fives among my peers in other armies wearing the uniform and a lot of angst among their civilian supervisors.
I detected the military leaders of other countries were very happy that Mr. Gates continued to press that issue. And they’re looking – some of them are asking me for help to persuade their governments to do more in terms of resourcing and budget. But you know, I can’t get involved in that, certainly.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: You know, on the issue of European forces, you know, they’re going through their own bout of fiscal austerity. And I’d be interested from your point of view, both in your current responsibilities as commander of USAREUR but also from your past experience with them because you’ve spent, as you’ve said, 12 years standing, marching shoulder-to-shoulder with European forces.
As they are embarking what seems – on a series of national force resizings and force cuts, one, are you seeing a sufficient level of coordination among those countries and with the United States in the management of this new phase of austerity?
And second, based on your experience as a ground force commander, what are the elements of European ground forces, not necessarily on a nation-to-nation basis but if you had comments on, for example, Germany’s plans that would be interesting.
But what are your – what should Europeans be protecting, harboring, husbanding in their force structures? What should they be releasing, dismantling in order to shore up resources to direct towards capabilities that are really needed in the ground force realm?
GEN. HERTLING: That’s a great question. When I visit foreign countries and the staff prepares me with intel about either personalities or, you know, the scene setter for the country, one of the things I’ve always asked them for is show me their percentage of GDP that they’re spending on defense.
And it’s been fascinating to me that – I’ve so far in three months in command almost to the day I’ve been to 21 different countries, and not a single one of those 21 countries have had a GDP over 2 percent, which does not meet NATO standard.
The other thing that’s interesting to me is – and I had this discussion with a couple people from OSD and the State Department just this morning and they reconfirmed what I already believed, because I’m a big – I’m a very stingy guy especially with taxpayers’ money.
And as I go around to different locations and people are asking me to continue to support armies the way we supported them to build alliances, frankly I’m telling them no. And I’ve had a couple of nations that have asked me for things in 1206 funding or 1202 funding – U.S. government funding for other armies – that I’ve just said, sorry. You know, we’ve got some fiscal constraints too here.
What I’ve seen particularly interesting, and it gets to your point about what things should they be husbanding and what things should they be giving up, there are some who still believe that – much like the Iraqis do – that the more they have, the more it shows that they’re strong.
So we will have some countries continuing to ask for us – continuing to ask us for major pieces of equipment that frankly in my military mindset they don’t need. You know, I could tell you one of a story that occurred just a couple days ago where a ground force commander asked me to help him get 400 tanks, M1A1 tanks.
And if I told you which country asked me for that, you would be very surprised. But there is the feeling that if you have things like tanks and aircraft and battleships, it doesn’t matter what you’re using them for, just the power behind it gives you some – as we used to say in Iraq – some “wasta.”
So I mean, part of that is the shaping of foreign militaries too, which as a brash young three-star I get to do as I talk to the other land force commanders. And most of the time they listen.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: But I heard a figure today that there’s something over a hundred brigades in Europe and the question is how many of them are actually deployable.
GEN. HERTLING: Right.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Could you – granted, countries have different national interests they have to serve. But it sounds like to me that a significant chunk of that could be dropped with savings used for things that are a little bit more expeditionary.
GEN. HERTLING: Well, potentially, but I’d just throw back that, you know, there are – you know, if you’re an – if you’re an allied country somewhere in Europe, you have to weigh – you have to understand the balance between national security versus out-of-sector operations or out-of-nation operations.
And I think that’s causing some challenges to some of our countries. And there are some that have perceived – have more of a threat than others and that want more forces for homeland security based on those perceived threats. And I could name a few today but I won’t.
As I travel to some countries, you know, they are – they are first of all fighting above – there are several, especially Eastern European countries, who are fighting above their weight class in contributing forces to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Syria – or I’m sorry, Cyprus, Lebanon, several other places that sometimes we don’t think about in terms of peacekeeping operations.
There are several nations that are fighting above their weight class that we don’t consider when we say, hey, you need to build niche capabilities to deploy. And then they come back to you and say, yeah, but we also have to secure our borders from transnational issues.
And there are a lot of transnational threats – drugs, guns, people – that many border security requirements are out there as part of the national security requirements of some of our countries. So that’s all part of their national security strategies that we have to consider as we talk about these things.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Doug?
Q: Yeah, I was just – you know, we’re really talking about Europe. But Afghanistan has been a compelling and difficult and a project that is – you know, it’s bound to be difficulty within the commands. So how do you – how do you look at that? Do you – is it something that you look very closely all the time to try to balance or counterbalance the way our forces will be working?
GEN. HERTLING: U.S. forces or European forces?
Q: Well, U.S. and European. We know the Germans are reticent – were reticent starting off.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah.
Q: And the French and the Dutch also, you know, the Dutch didn’t want to carry guns.
GEN. HERTLING: Right.
Q: You know, so this whole set of issues.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, that’s all part of how we try and – I hate to keep using the phrase but it’s how we continue to try and build the partner capacity of, hey, when you come to train with us at Hohenfels or when you’re part of the MREs that go on down there, what are you going to do when you get over there, because this is what you’re going to be expected to do and can we prepare for that.
I’ve had two conversations since I’ve been in command with General Petraeus, both on BTC, where I ask him, I said, hey, how are we delivering? How is U.S. Army delivering as almost a force provider, you know, not officially but we are in terms of our training methods. And he goes, hey, Mark, I’ll tell you.
He says, the guys that train with you, the forces, the OMLTs and the PMLT teams that come to Afghanistan, the ones that actually train together with you are very good. Some of the ones that train, because it’s a national responsibility to certify the training of a force, he said, some of the ones that train under their national authority, yeah, not so much. But I mean, I can’t force people to train with us and give them the standards. And there are some nations that they know they’re not – you know, they think they know what the standard are – the standard is until they get into combat and then they realize – they’re quite surprised. I don’t know if that answers the question or not, yeah.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Yes, ma’am.
Q: (Off mic.) Thank you very much for your kind words to Eastern European countries and Poland. Indeed, the approach that we took a couple of years ago was that through experience, be that training and exercises or participating in mission, is going to take us to a modernized army and we are happy that it’s really paying off well. And still there is work to do.
But I would like to ask you – take this opportunity about European – development of EU common security and defense policy. Is it going to pose any challenges or any – yeah, basically any challenges to your cooperation or U.S. troop presence in Europe and your cooperation with particular EU countries or EU as a whole. How do you see that? Thank you.
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah, I’m probably not in the position to answer, only other than to say – well, I’m really going to get myself in trouble on this one. I don’t make a differentiation between EU countries and NATO countries or non-EU, non-NATO countries.
I mean, I look at the entire European footprint and understanding that there are 51 countries out there and I’m the U.S. Army representative on the ground to them, you know, I engage with them and look to contribute to their capabilities as partners, whether they’re part of NATO or EU or not.
So I don’t see the formation of SEEBRIG, the Southeast Europe Brigade, or the French-German brigade or the Dutch-French brigade or, you know, any number of the brigades – I mean, we work with each of them.
And in fact I think one of the things that will be a constraining item for me is as budgets get tougher for me too, you know, how do I prioritize who I work with? And as the number of commanders and senior level officials and headquarters reduce and I only have brigades left and one JTF potential headquarters, how do I meet all the capabilities of all these different organizations?
General Glowienka, the chief of the Polish land forces, asked me to participate in an exercise that he’s forming with Hungary and Romania, I think. And I just had to tell him, I can’t. I’m out of – to use the common American expression – I’m out of Schlitz. I don’t have any forces to send during that period of time. What we have done, though, and what’s been interesting is we have used our capability at Grafenwoehr to run what we call a centralized training capacity.
And we held this at Oberammergau, Germany, last year and we had 42 different countries show up. And what all of them did in a period of four days is they put all their training and exercise schedules on the wall and they asked for resources. So General Glowienka’s rep basically said, hey, we’re doing an exercise then and we need a brigade headquarters to exercise with us, anybody out there want to sign up?
And the Croatians raised their hands or the Bulgarians raised their – yeah, we can do it. We can play. So we’re trying to help that synergy of helping other people relate as part of the European Union or as part of NATO. It doesn’t always have to be a U.S. presence involved. Two weeks ago I was in a crisis management exercise in – where the hell was I – it was Romania.
I’m sorry, and the Romanians had brought together the Serbs, the Croats, the Hungarians and the Romanians and did an exercise they called Tisza, which was a crisis response exercise based on the overflow of a river. And General Ioniţă, the Romanian land force commander, he said, Mark, could you come out and just show up? It will give us some – a nice thing to have an American general there. I said, yeah, sure.
So I flew out. No one else was there but just having me with a flag on my shoulder saying, you’re doing good, was pretty helpful I think to him. So those are some of the other things we’re trying to do and it’s been – you now, whether you support or not isn’t all that important. It’s just, you know, being there with your partners.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Mark, we’re almost out of Schlitz, but –
GEN. HERTLING: Can I tell a story, though, about the Poles, because I think this is insightful as long as I’m telling a Polish story and the power of cooperation. There’s a retired Polish general by the name of Pietrzyk who is currently the ambassador to North Korea, as I understand it. The poor guy, he retired from the army. They made him the –
MR. BRZEZINSKI: That’s a reward.
GEN. HERTLING: – the Polish ambassador to Iraq and then they moved him after he got blown up to North Korea. So he’s now – and he’s a great guy. But we were War College classmates at the National War College. When he was the Polish land force commander and then eventually the chad (ph) in 2002, he went to his president and said, we can use this opportunity to transform our army.
So two guys, General Pietrzyk and General Bienek (ph), literally changed the way the Polish army does business today over a 10-year period of time and it took a lot of vision and a lot of risk but they were able to do that. There are other countries I think in Europe who are now approaching that mark where they are midway between – and I think if you were to ask General Pietrzyk or Bienek (ph) they would tell you I think the partnering with the U.S. Army in Europe contributed significantly to that. I hope he would say that, anyway.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Yes, sir. Those are two great leaders, Pietrzyk and Bienek (ph).
GEN. HERTLING: Yeah.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: If I could, maybe we’ll just wrap up the last two questions and then give you a moment for any concluding remarks. The gentleman right there and then followed by Alain (ph) in the back? And sir, if you can be brief with your questions and we’ll wrap them together.
Q: I’m Christian Brix (ph), embassy of Estonia. Thank you, General, for your remarks. You don’t hear people talking about Europe that much in this city these days.
When the force posture review was made public then to sort of explain the cuts in BCTs, one of the central arguments was the slight increase in naval, air and of course missile defense assets. Now, one could argue that the experience in Libya makes us again revalue the land forces or land assets. How would you comment, would that have some repercussions for Europe also?
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Should we give it to Alain (ph) or do you want to take that directly?
GEN. HERTLING: No, I’ll take that one directly. But I think – you know, I would suggest we’ve got to be very careful about citing specifics – citing specific operations to either prove or disprove something. It was interesting.
Right before I came here, I was telling Ian I had an hour interview over at NPR and it was a warm-up for this session because they really grilled me. And one of the things they said was, well, what about NATO’s leadership and, you know, ISAF versus Libya and da-da-da.
And I said, hey, look, you know, as a military guy, what I’ll tell you is we rely on the acronym – in our doctrine we rely on the acronym of DOTS. And the guy said, DOTS? What do you mean by DOTS? And I said, depends on the situation.
You can’t either prove or disprove what might happen based on ongoing operations because – I mean, one of the things that we’re focusing on now because we have focused almost exclusively on COIN operations over the last 10 years, and there are a lot of COINistas who believe that’s the only thing we should be working on because that’s the wave of the future.
What I would suggest is that’s the same kind of situation the Israelis faced after dealing with the intifada for about eight years and then finding themselves going up against Hamas and Hezbollah and the Palestinians on the West Bank and having multiple hybrid threats in a war among the people. As leaders of military, we are forced to prepare for the security of our nations.
So we can’t just say, hey, it’s going to be like that, therefore we’ve got to practice that. You know, the next one might not be like Libya. The next one certainly won’t be like Afghanistan or Iraq.
So I’m suggesting that in a post-ISAF environment we have to be able to form our force and then impart the leader development to make our leaders and the generations of both officers and NCOs adaptable to anything they might face. That’s why being in this business is sort of being like a laser brain surgeon. I know that doesn’t answer your question. But you know what, that’s the best I can do, OK?
MR. BRZEZINSKI: All right. Alain (ph), you have the last question.
Q: Good afternoon, sir. Alain Rettler (ph) from ITS. Poland will continue to distinguish itself over the next five, six, 10 years by spending billions of dollars a year on defense procurement. Right now, we’re looking at – we’re looking at helicopters. We’re looking at air defense.
We’re looking at trainers, et cetera, et cetera. For you, sir, as the commander in the field for us, how important is equipment commonality? How important is it for you that countries such as Poland actually selectively invest these billions of dollars with American defense contractors and buy equipment that is common with yours, or does it not make a difference?
GEN. HERTLING: I would certainly love for that to happen. But I also would like an ice cream sundae about right now. That’s not going to happen either. OK, what I’m suggesting to you is it’s a nice wish to have, to have everyone have common equipment.
And I’m sure it would make every defense supplier in the United States very happy if I said, yeah, buy American. But I’m not sure that’s always the right case all the time. And I’ve got to be careful with that. And I cited the example before of the individual that came to me and said he wanted to buy 400 Abrams tanks.
What I said to him is I said, General, you don’t have the capability to sustain 400 Abrams tanks. You may be able to purchase them but in the long-term those are going to – those tanks are going to cost you much more to sustain than they are to buy.
I’m not in the defense acquisition business, but I know that you’re never going to get every nation to buy the same kind of equipment. I would like it to be so for commonality. But I also know it’s not going to happen. How’s that for politically correct? (Chuckles.) OK.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Mark, thank you very much. I don’t know if you have any last comments you want to make that capture this.
GEN. HERTLING: No. Well, yeah, I would actually. The Atlantic Council, I think, more than any other think tank or organization in this city is supportive of the kinds of things that I think are – that I personally think are important to the strategy of security for the United States.
Europe is our only ally, no kidding, from a collective standpoint. They are our only allies across the board. We could reach out to individual countries in other places but the collective body of the countries that make up Europe have stood with us in common values and dignity.
This particular organization fosters that. I know seeing the list of people that RSVP’d, most of you represent various governments within Europe and I appreciate your partnership and the support of dignity and liberty among people. So just thank you very much for allowing me to come and share some time with you. And I sure appreciate being here. I hope it was good.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: Standing – (inaudible) – of the importance of forward presence, I personally think that it’s something that needs to be heard more and more here in Washington, and please always consider the Atlantic Council as one of your stops. We want to be a community of support for you.
And then I have to say I really like your phrase, you cannot RFF trust. That captures forward presence and many other things that are often underestimated here in this capital and elsewhere.
GEN. HERTLING: You can steal that. Anyone in this room can steal that phrase if you like, OK, and publicize it.
MR. BRZEZINSKI: And many thanks again.
GEN. HERTLING: Put it on bumper stickers. Thank you all very much.