IZMIR, Turkey – U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John Thomson, Commander of NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), hosted the LANDCOM Corps Commanders’ Conference (LC3) at the LANDCOM Headquarters here, March 12 and 13, 2019.
The purpose of the LC3, which is a two-day event, is to bring the commanders from the NATO Force and Command Structures together to develop a shared visualization of the role of Land Forces and to discuss emergent challenges.
During his opening remarks, Thomson thanked the leaders from the nine corps and two divisions of the NATO Force Structure as well as the leaders from the NATO Command Structure for coming to LC3 for these important discussions.
Thomson learned of the power of this forum from the fall event in Milan, Italy. "When 11 high readiness force headquarters speak with one voice, it is powerful.” Thomson articulated, "I’m very impressed with the teamwork and cohesion. It’s excellent teamwork. It’s about the importance of moving forward together. You get the power of a fist instead of the power of 11 individual fingers.”
Some of the topics discussed include: Land Command and Control, Multi-Corps Land Component Commands, Corps Troop Vision, Training and Exercises, Combat Readiness Evaluations, and NATO Command Structure / NATO Force Structure integration.
Italian Army Gen. Riccardo Marchio, the Commander of Joint Force Command Brunssum, who attended seven LC3s during the last four years, provided some key insights. "The speed of relevance is a theme.” He said, "building readiness… leading change [is important].” Change is difficult and NATO must adapt to be relevant.
French Army Lt. Gen. Olivier Rittimann, the Vice Chief of Staff for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, agreed and added an important perspective. "We need a culture of readiness,” he stated. Maintaining readiness is the key to NATO’s success.
Thomson closed his opening comments, "today marks the 20th anniversary of three nations’ entry into NATO… Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Congratulations!” History validates the importance of NATO as it has maintained the peace in Europe for the last 70 years.