As always this year has been very busy. As the frantic pace at work started to accelerate in anticipation of the holiday break, I was selected to do something different that got me out of the office for a while. I recently completed a trip to Europe where I travelled to Italy and Germany to visit several Army and Department of Defense commands – US Army Africa (USARAF) in Vicenza, Italy, US Army Europe (USAREUR) in Heidelberg, Germany, US European Command (USEUCOM) and US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany. I spent almost three weeks leading a study team conducting interviews and meeting with senior headquarters staff and leaders. Our visit purpose was focused on determining Geographic Combatant Command (GCC) needs – USEUCOM and USAFRICOM in this case, and then assessing how well those needs are being addressed by their Army Service Component Commands (ASCC) – USAREUR and USARAF respectively. Several other teams are looking at the other commands. For more information on the GCCs and the Department of Defense Unified Command Plan, please check out this link.
While it is always nice to do something different that breaks the normal routine, traveling anywhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas break is a bit hectic. Europe and its history are certainly exciting but the weather was not the best – cold and raining in Italy and very cold and snowing in Germany. Although good German beer and glühwein help take the edge off. We did try to take in some sights visiting the sinking city of Venice and enjoying the famous Christmas Market in downtown Stuttgart.
Our work assessing how well ASCC capabilities meet, or fail to meet needs as we discovered in many cases in USAREUR and USARAF, will continue through the spring. We have submitted a preliminary report but there is more work to be done. Ultimately we hope to develop a feasible way the Army can re-structure and resource its ASCCs to better fulfill GCC needs.