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Jan 29 2020

NATO ALLIED LAND COMMAND Hosts SACEUR COMMANDERS CONFERENCE

IZMIR, Turkey – Headquarters NATO Allied Land Command hosted the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Commanders Conference January 29, 2020. The biannual conference is an opportunity for the SACEUR, U.S. Air Force General Tod D. Wolters, to meet with Allied Command Operations (ACO) commanders, Command Senior Enlisted Leaders, and Political Advisors to discuss NATO priorities. Unique to this conference is the fact representatives from Allied Command Transformation (ACT) attended as well.

Topics covered during this conference included a focus on NATO’s Deterrence and Defence Posture, including the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area Concept, the Enablement of SACEUR’s Area of Responsibility, as well as NATO’s Operations, Missions and Activities. This iteration comes on the heels of the January 14-15 Military Committee meeting, another NATO event held biannually between Allied Chiefs of Defence.


We’re here because we have a responsibility to fight in the competition phase and deliver peace,

"We’re here because we have a responsibility to fight in the competition phase and deliver peace,” said Gen. Wolters during his opening remarks. "And, every time we gather, if we’re not talking about the things we’re going to have to do to generate more peace and win, I think we’re making a mistake,” he said, expanding on the purpose of the gathering.

General Tod D. Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, meets face to face with Allied Command Operations commanders and representatives from Allied Command Transformation at NATO Allied Land Command Headquarters in Izmir, Turkey from January 29, 2020 to discuss a number of issues including NATO priorities and how the Alliance is evolving to meet contemporary challenges in the defence of the Alliance. - NATO photo by LANDCOM Public Affairs Office

The conference, which is always chaired by SACEUR, is hosted at different Headquarters across Allied Command Operations on a rotating basis. This was the first time NATO Allied Land Command hosted the event.

"Günaydın and Hoş Geldiniz! Good morning and welcome to Turkey! Thank you very much for this opportunity to have this conference here,” said LANDCOM commander, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. J.T. Thomson. “I’ll tell you, this is very important to LANDCOM, but from a bigger perspective, this is very important to the Republic of Turkey,” noting the excitement senior Turkish military and government officials conveyed to him during a recent meeting he attended in Ankara. “[They told me] it is great that SACEUR is having his conference here,” he said. 

(Left)U.S. Air Force General Tod. D. Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), signs the guestbook alongside U.S. Army Lieutenant General J.T. Thomson, Commander, NATO Allied Land Command (LANDCOM), at the kick off reception of the SACEUR Commanders Conference held January 29, 2020 at LANDCOM headquarters in Izmir, Turkey. The biannual conference is an opportunity for the SACEUR to meet with Allied Command Operations (ACO) commanders to discuss NATO priorities. - NATO photo by LANDCOM Public Affairs Office 

(Right) U.S. Air Force General Tod. D. Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), delivers opening remarks during the SACEUR Commanders Conference held January 29, 2020 at LANDCOM headquarters in Izmir, Turkey. The biannual conference is an opportunity for the SACEUR to meet with Allied Command Operations (ACO) commanders to discuss NATO priorities. Unique to this conference is the fact representatives from Allied Command Transformation (ACT) attended as well.  - NATO photo by LANDCOM Public Affairs Office

NATO has had a continuous command structure presence in Izmir since Turkey joined the Alliance in 1952. LANDCOM is one of several NATO activities currently operating in the Turkish province. From 1952 – 2002 it operated as Allied Land Forces Southeast, a 4-star headquarters commanded by both U.S. and Turkish commanders during that period. In 2002, after the Prague Summit, it transformed into NATO’s Air Component Command and operated as such from 2002 – 2013. In 2013, following a NATO Command Structure review, it officially returned to the land domain as LANDCOM and has the mission to coordinate and synchronize NATO and Partner Land Forces by enabling land domain readiness, interoperability, standardization, and competency. LANDCOM has the additional mission to deploy headquarters elements to provide planning, coordination, and command and control capabilities to Allied forces.

Gen. Wolters emphasized the importance of commanders learning as much as possible from the different war fighting domains represented at the conference, as well as representatives from ACT. “For all of us, every time we visit a fellow domain organization, we’re pleasantly surprised with what we learn. You walk away from that experience with a far better understanding of how to be successful to contribute outside of your specific domain,” he said.

Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation are NATO’s two strategic military commands. ACO, commanded by the SACEUR, is responsible for all Alliance military operations. The command headquarters, known as Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, or SHAPE, is located in Casteau near Mons, Belgium. The mission of ACO and the SACEUR is to contribute to preserving the peace, security and territorial integrity of NATO member nations in its area of responsibility.

ACT, headquartered in the United States near Norfolk, Virginia, is commanded by General André Lanata. The organization’s mission is to contribute to preserving the peace, security and territorial integrity of Alliance member states by leading the warfare development of military structures, forces, capabilities and doctrines. ACT’s mission complements ACO as it enables NATO to meet its level of ambition and core missions.

In addition to the SACEUR and the LANDCOM commander, other commanders and command representatives attending the event included German Army General Erhard Bühler, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum; U.S. Navy Admiral James Foggo, Allied JFC Naples; U.S. Air Force General Jeffrey L. Harrigian, Commander, Allied Air Command; British Army General James Everard, Deputy SACEUR; German Army General Markus Kneip, SHAPE Chief of Staff; British Navy Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander, NATO Allied Maritime Command; U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, Commander, Joint Force Command Norfolk; U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Commander, NATO Naval Striking and Support Forces; U.S. Army Lieutenant General Eric P. Wendt, Commander, NATO Special Operations Headquarters; German Army Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, Commander, Joint Support and Enabling Command; British Navy Vice Admiral Paul Bennett, Chief of Staff, Allied Command Transformation; German Air Force Major General Jörg Lebert, Commander, NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force; British Army Brigadier General Duncan Bedding, Commander, NATO Standing Joint Logistics Support Group; U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Phillip A. Stewart, Commander, NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force; Netherlands Army Brigadier General Hans Folmer, Deputy Commander, NATO Communication and Information Systems Group; and U.S. Army Colonel James Dickerman, Commander, Allied Command Counter Intelligence.

U.S. Air Force General Tod. D. Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), delivers opening remarks during the SACEUR Commanders Conference held January 29, 2020 at LANDCOM headquarters in Izmir, Turkey. The biannual conference is an opportunity for the SACEUR to meet with Allied Command Operations (ACO) commanders to discuss NATO priorities. Unique to this conference is the fact representatives from Allied Command Transformation (ACT) attended as well.  - NATO photo by LANDCOM Public Affairs Office.

Story by NATO Allied Land Command Public Affairs Office      

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