WIESBADEN, Germany -- U.S. Army Europe has declared 2017 the "Year of Execution," and more than 200 commanders and senior enlisted leaders met at U.S. Army Europe Headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany to discuss and plan at the USAREUR Winter Commander's Conference Jan 24 - 26.
The conference is a semi-annual opportunity for commanders and senior enlisted leaders to discuss operational, readiness, and other key issues, hosted this year by Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commander of U.S. Army Europe.
"We call 2017 the Year of Execution because this year we are going to implement the strategic decisions of our nations to transfer the NATO Alliance from assurance to deterrence," said Hodges.
In 2016, during the NATO Summit in Warsaw, the Alliance made the decision to transfer from assurance to deterrence. One of the most visible components of that determination by the Alliance, according to Hodges, was the decision to create enhanced forward battalions.
Hodges further specified in 2017 the current and upcoming deployments of a rotational combat deployment team, a combat aviation brigade and a Stryker squadron from Vilseck in the northeast of Poland serving as an enhanced forward presence battalion. Additionally, he noted the establishment of Army Prepositioned Stocks, APS, in Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland as well as a continuing increase in the sophistication, quality and scale of Army Europe's exercise program.
"So a battle group from Germany will go to Lithuania, a battle group from Canada will go to Latvia, a battle group from the United Kingdom will go into Estonia, and then the United States agreed to provide a battle group or battalion task Force to Poland," said Hodges. "The concept was to have actual warfighting formations that are capable of standing up against a brigade sized adversary to increase the deterrent effect. It also was intended to represent a multinational cohesive front to deter aggression. So each of these four battle groups will be multinational."
For example, Hodges said, the U.S. battle group, the 2nd Squadron of 2nd Cavalry Regiment, will include a British light wheeled light armor company as part of it as well as capabilities from other allies. They will be in Northeast Poland under Polish Brigade Command within a NATO structure. So that's a part of the execution which we will implement in 2017."