Non-commissioned officers strengthen NATO backbone at joint-nation symposium
SOFIA, Bulgaria - The first day is complete of a joint-nation non-commissioned officer symposium at the Bulgarian Land Forces headquarters here, April 10-11.
More than 40 American and Bulgarian senior enlisted members shared their doctrine, experiences and strengths during four discussions and a small-group breakout session.
Chief Master Sgt. David Williamson, U.S. Air Forces in Europe command chief, disclosed his views about the roles and values of the enlisted force.
The value comes from empowering and developing leaders at the lowest level, he said. There is a difference in accomplishing the intent of a mission or just completing a checklist of tasks. If a leader encounters an obstacle, he or she must use critical thinking skills and be confident enough to work around the obstacle, not flounder, and still complete the mission.
Williamson also advocated the importance of establishing a common ground between partners. Each nation should have a general idea of the responsibilities and capabilities of each others' non-commissioned officer backbone. The first time to get to know someone should not be out in the field or during global contingency efforts.
"One of the key points is knowing that when we do work together, we have to be interoperable," he said. "That interoperability doesn't just come from weapon systems working together; it has a personal face, and that face is the NCO corps that make the mission happen every day.
"When a group of nations get together to accomplish something on a grand scale, that shares a bigger statement to the world," he added. "We understand each nation brings a unique capability to the table — that's all part of strengthening the team."
James B. Warlick Jr., U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria, said he hopes this symposium will evolve into something that continues in the future to encourage professional development and growth between the two NATO partners. Devoting resources into creating more training opportunities such as this symposium is one of his priorities.
This is a testament to the commitment and professionalism of the U.S. and Bulgarian non-commissioned officer corps, he said.
"I was excited to come here," said Bulgarian navy Master Chief Petty Officer Georgi Nikolov, Navy Command in Varna, Bulgaria. "It's a good chance to meet each other and share our teachings. We want to take the knowledge from our U.S. colleagues and share what we've learned with our junior NCOs.
"There were a lot of people here, which is a good thing," he continued. "A lot of people means a lot of different ideas and approaches."
Bulgarian navy Vice Adm. Plamen Manushev, deputy chief of defense, expressed his wishes for a successful symposium during the opening remarks.
"We'll continue to develop the ability for the NCOs to function in traditional and growing roles in a multinational environment," he said. "The purpose of this symposium is to exchange knowledge to prepare our military forces for future conflicts or even homestation readiness.
"I've never been witness to such an event," he said about the opportunity for joint NCO advancement. "I've never had the privilege to speak in front of so many enlisted leaders. Use this opportunity to enhance your knowledge about the role of the NCO in armed forces."
The symposium continues April 11 with discussions planned for motivating and leading subordinates, and an overview of U.S. European Command's strategy for active security.
Find more articles tagged with:
- U.S. Air Forces in Europe
- noncommissioned officer
In advance of their budget testimony this morning before a Senate panel, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey outlined Defense Department activities pertaining to the crisis in Ukraine.
Following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement today during Senate testimony that the United States is augmenting its participation in NATO's air policing mission in the Baltics and will increase joint training through its aviation detachment in Poland, a defense official provided additional information.
The biannual event, traditionally conducted in Sofia, was held in Stuttgart for just the second time since the signing of the United States/Bulgaria Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2006.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised Estonia's commitment in Afghanistan in a Pentagon meeting today with Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
The Michigan National Guard celebrates their 20-year partnership with Latvia with a look back at how the partnership started and and some milestones along the way.
Slovenian-born General Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, visited Slovenia Nov. 8 and 9, 2013, to meet Defence Minister Roman Jakič, Chief of the General Staff, Brigadier Dobran Božič, and President Borut Pahor. The general also visited the barracks and airbase in Cerklje ob Krki and be presented the capabilities of the Slovenian air force, according to the Defence Ministry.
It makes fiscal and strategic sense for the United States to continue to base troops in Europe, the officer who serves as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command said today.
Top U.S., Romanian and NATO officials broke ground Monday on a new ballistic missile defense facility being built to boost regional stability and strengthen the alliance's collective security stance.
NATO defense ministers are meeting this week as the alliance faces what many here call an inflection point: how to preserve hard-earned NATO operational capabilities while winding down operations in Afghanistan over the coming months
Warrant Officer 1st Class Krzysztof Gadowski, the top enlisted advisor for the Polish air force, visited the Ramstein First Term Airman's Center, Kisling NCO Academy, and the Airman Leadership School Sept. 17-19. The trip included an overview of the academic curriculum, multiple sessions of observing instructors interact with students, and one-on-one discussions with the enlisted leaders of both PME facilities.