High Level Military Doctrine Seminar Additional Remarks by General Christopher Cavoli
February 9, 2021
Thank you, thank you very much to Secretary General Schmid for the invitation to speak and participate in the discussion. It is unfortunate we’ve had to do this virtually, but I look forward to it and to the possibility to sit down with you in person in the future.
GEN Wolters in his remarks, talked about deterrence, and as his U.S. Army Component Commander here in EUCOM, I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you what that means for us.
First of all, our ability to deter, is a function of demonstrated readiness. This is why we need to exercise.
These exercises build not only our readiness, but our interoperability with our allies and partners, and ensure that we can respond to any crisis. This explains the outline of our exercise programs for both NATO, and US EUCOM.
A primary example of this, is our often discussed, US Army DEFENDER EUROPE exercise, a defensive exercise designed to build whole-of-Europe readiness and interoperability. Our last exercise, DEFENDER EUROPE 20 included the movement of thousands of soldiers and equipment from the United States, integrating and participating with 19 allies and partners.
These exercises are all executed under the guidelines of the OSCEs founding document, the 1975 Helsinki Act and the most recent 2011 Vienna Document, reinforcing the United States’ commitment to security and peace in Europe.
The common feature in all of our exercises, is the need to move to the point of crisis. This has become more challenging in the past 30 years. The difference between now and the end of the cold war – where we had a defined limited front of potential confrontation in one country, is no longer the case. Now the threat is 360 degrees, and the crisis could come from anywhere.
My headquarters has undergone a significant change that helps us address this 360 degree threat. This past November, my headquarters, consolidated with US Army Africa, to create US Army Europe – Africa. The consolidation made me responsible for US Army activities in both continents, an Area of Operations that consist of 104 countries.
The consolidation provides us an opportunity to align US Army operations, activities and interests with our allies, namely those in Southern Europe. For example, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, are all interested in Africa because many of their security challenges are closely related to the security challenges in Africa.
So, what it does is give us the opportunity to think about security across both continents as one problem, which is useful because in real life there is no boundary. It provides me both the ability and the flexibility, at the Army level, to move across what would otherwise been a seam between two commands and allocate resources to support counter-terrorism and security cooperation activities … to name a few in Africa.
One of the countries we are currently working with is Tunisia, where we are helping them build capacity at the institutional level through the use of one of my Security Forces Assistance Brigades.
I am actually visiting Tunisia later this month, a trip that I am looking forward to, as it provides me both an opportunity to see the progress we are making and a chance to strengthen relations with one of my partners south of the Mediterranean.
This effort is certainly an area of interest we share with the OSCE. Since your Permanent Council’s decision in 2003, I know that you’ve built a relationship Tunisia along with other countries in my area operations, Morocco, Algeria and Israel, through the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation (that also includes Egypt and Jordan which are under the U.S. Central Command), where you recognize the transnational threats, that affect our security here in Europe.
So, I’ve discussed only a few of the issues that affect our security. Forums like these provide an opportunity to have discuss our challenges and take the necessary steps to develop solutions.
Again, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to speak here at this forum, and look forward to answering your questions.