Monthly Archives: July 2021

Special Edition, Interview with U.S. Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson (Series-4)

Special Edition, Interview with the U.S. Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson              (Series-4) conducted by Editor in Chief 


Sir, it is a great honor to have you with us in this interview. Thank you for accepting the invitation. 


Q: 1 Defender Europe 2021 has reached its final phase.

  • Please provide us a brief overview of the goals achieved and the challenges overcome during this exercise?

The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: Yes, U.S. forces are in the process of redeploying to the United States as DEFENDER-Europe 21 activities across Europe come to a close.

DEFENDER-Europe is an annual large-scale U.S. Army Europe and Africa-led, multinational, joint exercise designed to build strategic and operational readiness and interoperability between U.S., NATO allies and partners.

U.S., NATO allies and partners worked together throughout DEFENDER-Europe 21 to build readiness, enhance interoperability, and strengthen relationships. More than 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations conducted nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in a dozen countries.

“Interoperability is key to alliance readiness. DEFENDER-Europe 21 is evidence of the ironclad U.S. commitment to NATO, is a prime example of our collective capabilities, and demonstrates that NATO allies and partners are stronger together,” said Gen. Christopher Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general.

DEFENDER-Europe 21 concluded with the redeployment of U.S.-based forces and equipment. Strategic readiness includes the ability of the U.S. military to dynamically project force and set the theater by mobilizing and deploying forces, sustaining them in a crisis and redeploying them when their mission is complete. U.S. service members will now clear the training areas, return prepositioned stocks, move to ports and return to home stations.

The large-scale movement of troops and equipment for these exercises involve extensive support from each of the twelve host nations.

“We owe a great thanks to the host nations, their citizens and governments, and the participating units for their hard work and steadfast support throughout the exercise, said Cavoli. “This was an extremely complex exercise with activity going on across the theater at many different locations almost simultaneously. The coordination and cooperation required for DEFENDER demonstrate our allies ally and partner commitment to European military readiness and interoperability. And, to the various units throughout DoD that made DEFENDER successful, thank you for your participation and dedication to mission success.”

Throughout the exercise, U.S. forces demonstrated their ability to successfully train in a COVID environment. Critical to this success was the detailed planning, and the strict COVID prevention and mitigation strategy implemented by U.S. and participating nations. As the U.S. military members redeploy, they will continue to follow host nation requirements, as they did when entering Europe and during training.

DEFENDER-Europe 21 encompassed several linked exercises. Linked exercises shared coordinated mission command, mutual sustainment and a mission partner environment. Exercises linked to DEFENDER-Europe 21 included Immediate Response, Swift Response, Saber Guardian and a Command Post Exercise.

Q: 2 The area of responsibility of U.S. Army Europe and Africa covers also the African continent encompassing 54 countries. The African Land Forces Summit (ALFS), inaugurated in Washington DC in 2010, has been an important annual event since with the U.S. military officials’ participation. This year the ALFS was held on May 19th and virtually-hosted by the U.S. Army.

  • Could you speak about the overall theme of this year’s summit?
  • And how can this event assist the U.S. Army Europe and Africa to develop stronger partnerships with African nations’ armed forces?

The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: The 9th annual African Land Forces Summit, held virtually May 19, was themed “Maintaining security in a degraded environment.” The summit highlighted COVID-19-related challenges within the operational environment and encouraged dialogue to address military pandemic responses, as well as the pandemic’s effects on current and future operations.

Following opening remarks from the Southern European Task Force – Africa commander, Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, the attendees, including 35 African land forces commanders, participated in one of four regionally-focused sessions on a virtual platform.

Each session opened with recorded speeches from Gen. James C. McConville, the U.S. Army chief of staff; Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the U.S. Africa Command commander; and Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general. Session participants then engaged in moderated discussion, which included prepared remarks from land forces leaders from the region, on topics related to the event theme.

In their remarks, McConville, Townsend, Cavoli and Rohling each emphasized that while the global pandemic has impacted the way ahead for operations, it has not diminished the U.S. Army’s commitment to supporting its African partners in ensuring peace and stability on the continent and throughout the world.

Q: 3 NATO’s annual Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 began on May 12 and will continue until June 22, with component maritime, land, and rapid reaction dimensions.

  • How do you see the participation of the U.S. Army Europe and Africa in this exercise, and the associated benefits for the strong U.S-NATO relations?

The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: For seven decades, the bond between Europe and North America has made NATO the strongest alliance in history. This bond guarantees our prosperity and security, and allows us to live our lives in freedom.

Like every year, a number of multinational exercises took place in Central and Eastern Europe this Spring. For reasons of efficiency, interoperability and costs, some of these have linked scenarios.

Steadfast Defender was a new series of NATO exercises focused on the transatlantic reinforcement of Europe and demonstrated NATO’s ability to respond rapidly to the full spectrum of threats. As part of Steadfast Defender, NATO troops participated in the DEFNDER-Europe 21 Command Post Exercise in Germany this May. The Command Post Exercise, included approximately 1,500 personnel from U.S. Army Europe and Africa, including V Corps, and NATO’s recently established Multinational Corps Southeast in Romania. The command post exercise demonstrated U.S. capacity to conduct division-level offensive operations in a multinational environment. This computer-assisted exercise simulated a response-based scenario related to declaration of NATO’s Article V.

Q: 4 What other exercises are planned in the second part of this year?

The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: U.S. Army Europe and Africa provides ready, combat-credible land forces to deter, and, if necessary, defeat aggression from any potential adversary in Europe and Africa. One way that U.S. Army Europe and Africa achieves this is through our exercise program, which builds readiness, enhances interoperability and strengthens relationships by providing a joint, multinational environment to prepare allies and partners to train as they fight.

A few exercises that U.S. Army Europe and Africa is scheduled to participate in later this year include:

-Agile Spirit, Georgia: Agile Spirit 2021 is a joint, multinational exercise co-led by the Georgian Defense Forces and U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade-level exercise will incorporate a command post exercise, field training and joint multinational live fires.

-Justified Accord 21, Kenya: Southern European Task Force – Africa, alongside other participants, will conduct a Command Post Exercise.

-Rapid Trident 21, Ukraine: Rapid Trident 21 is the final training phase, or culminating event, of an intense and realistic annual training exercise to prepare Ukrainian Land Force units for the challenges of real world situations and deployments.

Q: 5 In each interview we focus on the importance of one special U.S-European military partnership. This time our subject matter is Denmark.

In early June the U.S. Army National Guard’s 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team arrived in Denmark to begin its rotational deployment to Europe in support of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. The U.S. Army Europe and Africa announced: “….The operation reflects the ability of U.S. and Danish military forces to execute a complex logistics and transportation equipment movement on this scale.”

  • Could you give your views on the enduring partnership between the U.S. Army Europe and Africa and the Danish Armed-Forces?

The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Spokesperson: The Kingdom of Denmark and the United States have a long and close relationship. U.S. and Danish forces exercise regularly together in Europe and operate together daily across the continent.

As you mentioned, earlier this month more than 300 pieces of equipment from U.S. Army National Guard’s 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team was off-loaded at the Esbjerg, Denmark, port. This was the first time the U.S. Army and the Danish Ministry of Defense have used the Esbjerg port for an operation of this kind. The unit is currently deployed to Europe in support of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence.

The U.S. and Denmark also continue to cooperate to maintain the Arctic as a secure and stable region where nations work cooperatively to address challenges along existing structures and institutions. This line of effort will focus on further cooperation on domain awareness, communication, the testing of new technologies, and the exchange of experiences from operating in the Arctic.

News from:  U.S KFOR Regional Command East             

KFOR Regional Command East Religious Support Teams           NATO-KFOR

The Interview is subject to Copyright Law. ©U.S. Army Europe and Africa /U.S. Army/ U.S. European Command/U.S. NATO/NATO/all U.S Embassies across Europe and Africa/U.S Armed-Forces/U.S. Europe World Affairs. 

Update on Newsletters

Dear all, due to the increased number of articles, news, and interviews on our media platform for the rest of 2021 our Newsletters will be published monthly. The interviews with Ambassador Liselotte Plesner, Permanent Representative of Denmark to NATO and Captain Erik Anthony, USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs Spokesperson will be featured in August edition. Thank you for your interest.  Editor in Chief  

U.S. Armed-Forces and NATO Allies in Atlantic Resolve-1

Atlantic Resolve is the continuation of U.S-led measure which began in 2014 under the Department of Defense ‘European Deterrence Initiative’ to enhance NATO military capacities.

“The United States is demonstrating to NATO allies and the world its continued commitment to peace, security and stability in Europe.” highlighted the Department of Defense on the importance of the Atlantic Resolve 

This year as well  the operation continues to execute series of bilateral and multilateral training in different parts of Europe with the participation of the armed-forces from most European States including: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.                                                                                                       Indicated by U.S Army Europe and Africa, 7000 soldiers from U.S are assigned on rotational deployment to Europe as a part of Atlantic Resolve.

U.S. Army Europe’s Operation Atlantic Resolve demonstrates continued U.S. commitment to collective security. This reassures NATO allies and partners of America’s dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region following Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.” described the U.S Army in 2017

“Deterrence requires ready and capable allies in Europe, which is why we have enhanced the frequency and complexity of exercises with NATO allies and partners, while augmenting the U.S. air, ground, and naval presence in the region.

The U.S.-European strategic partnership is built on a foundation of shared values and common experience, and we build on that foundation with a robust training and exercise plan.” announced the White House in 2016

Acknowledgments: the Infographic of Atlantic Resolve 2021©U.S. Army Europe and Africa. Sources: DoD, U.S Army,  U.S Army Europe and Africa

By Catherine S. Schmidt, Editor in Chief  (Copyrighted material)

Special Edition Interview with the Belgian Chief of Defence Hon. Admiral Michel Hofman (Part-2)

Interview with the  Belgian Chief of Defence Hon. Admiral Michel Hofman, conducted by Editor in Chief

Q: 4 In late March this year NATO announced that Belgian F-16s are ready for NATO Response Force. Could you discuss about this mission and the role that Belgium is holding in it.

Indeed, at the end March 2021, NATO completed a tactical evaluation of the Belgian air combat capability, flying F-16. This process started in 2019 but due to COVID-19, we experienced some inevitable delays.

NATO’s Readiness Forces are one of the cornerstones in the Alliance’s Deterrence and Security Policy and thus an important pillar of collective defence, one of NATO’s core tasks. By meeting NATO’s evaluation standards, we demonstrated our Air Force’s ability to operate at par with our Allies, supporting the Alliance, contributing to its readiness forces and other engagements such as Baltic Air Policing.

Apart from our Air Force, Belgium also provides maritime capabilities for NATO’s Standing Naval Forces and Land Forces for NRF and engagements such as enhanced Forward Presence. Such contributions are a clear sign of our willingness to take on our responsibility and share the burden regarding collective defence. It is a testimony of our commitment to the Alliance, our solidarity with our Allies and our reliability.

In order to remain relevant, keeping up with technological evolutions, Belgium invested in the replacement of its major combat platforms such as our air combat capability. As from 2023, the F-16 fleet will transition to F-35 over a period of five years. The same process is planned for regarding the replacement of our land combat vehicles, air transport capability, frigates and mine hunting vessels, albeit each within its own time frame. Although these transitions are very challenging, we will of course respect our operational commitments to NATO and our level of readiness. 

Q: 5 Belgium and the United States enjoy very special relations in the diplomatic field, in trade cooperation, as well as in defence and security partnership. As decades of military joint training and exercises, joint forces in the overseas operations are all real presentations that accentuate this fact. Would you please comment on U.S-Belgian Armed Forces partnership.

Belgium was liberated by American and Canadian soldiers at the end of the Second World War and with the Battle of the Bulge a special bond was created between our two countries. The post-war period was characterized by a strong Trans-Atlantic cooperation with the creation of NATO in 1949. Since then Belgo-American relations have grown strong in a sphere of mutual respect.

Obviously, the United States remain the important Strategic partner for Belgium and Europe in general with common values and strategic interests as the basis of this partnership. The enhanced cooperation on security and defence is the evident consequence of common values as the strengthening of the multilateral system and democracy around the world.

The United States taking on the leading role in different operations like Resolute Support and Inherent Resolve, allow us to contribute in the achieving of these common challenges to promote regional stability in the areas of our interest. Participating in common operations implies a high degree of cooperation and interoperability, which is reflected in many bilateral contacts, in the sphere of education and training, in operations, and not to mention the many military and political fora where we take part in, and certainly not to forget, the procurement of equipment and weapon systems.

The United States and Belgium have been interconnected for a long time and the intention is to continue cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally for a long time to come. 

Additional: “To our brave Belgian allies and comrades-in-arms, I say ‘Amérique se souvient de vos sacrifices.’ (America remembers your sacrifices). Excerpt from the speech of Chief Master Sgt. Richard Lien, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire chief from Twig, Minn, at the honoring those who gave their lives ceremony in Hombourg, Belgium. November 11, 2013. 

Acknowledgments: Image of a Belgian F-16 jet during a quick Reaction Alert exercise. 30. April. 2021©NATO. Excerpt from the speech of Chief Master Sgt. Richard Lien.©U.S Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa/Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs. November 13, 2013. The interview is subject to Copyright Law.