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NATO Allied Land Command Activating Next Week In Turkey

Stars and Stripes
November 23, 2012

NATO Allied Land Command activating next week in Turkey
By John Vandiver

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Establishing the headquarters in Turkey — home to NATO’s second largest military – makes good strategic sense, [Lt. Gen. Frederick] Hodges said.

“Turkey’s location from a geographic standpoint — adjacent to the Middle East, nearly adjacent to Russia — it’s an important location,” Hodges said. “It sends a signal not only to Turkey and the rest of the alliance. It sends a signal to the other neighbors.”

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STUTTGART, Germany: A new NATO land command headquarters, restructured to streamline costs and decision making, will be activated next week in Turkey as the new home for planning how infantrymen from the 28-nation alliance fight together.

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, one of the prime focuses of NATO Allied Land Command will be harnessing that war fighting experience to ensure that the alliance doesn’t lose the lessons learned, said the American Army officer commanding the new headquarters in Izmir, Turkey.

Coming off more than a decade at war, the level of “interoperability” among NATO members is at an all-time high, Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, said.

“My job will be to maintain that level of interoperability,” Hodges said. “You’ve got to retain this experience, and a lot of that resides in the noncommissioned officer corps.”

Following an activation ceremony on Friday in Izmir, Allied Land Command headquarters will formally assume the responsibilities of Force Command Heidelberg, Germany, and Force Command Madrid, Spain, which are being deactivated as part of NATO’s transformation. A similar merger of Air Command headquarters formerly in Turkey with one in Germany is taking place at Ramstein Air Base.

The Allied Land Command is responsible for ensuring readiness of NATO forces, conducting land operations and synchronizing land force command and control.

[An] area of focus for Hodges is lobbying for a U.S. policy change that currently limits tours in Izmir to one-year unaccompanied missions for U.S. personnel. To ensure the U.S. can attract the best troops to the command, tours in Izmir should become accompanied and extended like other alliance members’ tours, according to Hodges.

“The current policy hurts our effectiveness,” said Hodges. “I think it marginalizes the American contribution to some extent.”

Meanwhile, Hodges said he hopes to develop an exercise that would bring together allies in a rugged environment to test their logistical and communication abilities.

For NATO reaction forces to be effective, “we’re going to have to ramp up some of our training,” he said.

While NATO may not have the resources to bring back something on the massive scale of the Cold War-era Reforger exercise, ground troops would benefit from getting together for a major logistics event, Hodges said. “You’ve got to apply rigor to truly test logistics.”

Establishing the headquarters in Turkey — home to NATO’s second largest military – makes good strategic sense, Hodges said.

“Turkey’s location from a geographic standpoint — adjacent to the Middle East, nearly adjacent to Russia — it’s an important location,” Hodges said. “It sends a signal not only to Turkey and the rest of the alliance. It sends a signal to the other neighbors.”

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. rosemerry
    November 24, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Well, if that is not an admission of wanting to take over the world and make sure Russia is treated as an enemy and the USA the only power willing and able to take over, I don’t know what would be.

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