- Senior leaders from U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) met this week at EUCOM Headquarters to discuss a variety of key issues of mutual interest as part of the ongoing commitment between the two staffs to enhance understanding and transparency.
Hosted by General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), the talks this week were the second in a series of conversations that EUCOM and SHAPE have committed to as a way to improve processes, information-sharing and partnerships. Building on the first staff talks last year, discussions this week focused heavily on exercises, training, logistics and mobility, and crisis response.
"The world is changing at an unprecedented pace,” said Scaparrotti. “We need to be ready and postured to counter the threats we face. We must be resolute and adaptable as we work together as a team to maintain our momentum."
SHAPE Chief of Staff, (German) General Markus Kneip commented on the importance of training and the desire for continued dialogue to enhance capability between nations.
“We are continuing to work and plan together to build greater understanding between us,” said Kneip. “We must take deliberate steps.”
Rear Adm. Paul Verrastro, EUCOM’s director of logistics, presented on the significant progress being made in the area of freedom of movement across borders with allies and partners and the collaboration with the commercial enterprise.
“Whether by rail, road or at sea, we are working closely together to ensure we are building the right infrastructure to support our mobility needs,” Verrastro said. “It’s all about alignment of effort.”
Kneip offered that the logistics work being done must complement one another and that a great deal of synchronization and coordination is necessary for the effort to work.
“We must be sure to avoid redundancy,” Kneip said. “By securing our responsibilities, we increase our common view.”
Exercises were also a focus area during the meetings. EUCOM and SHAPE leaders agreed that training together strengthens the Alliance. Through coordination and training, leaders identified the need to continue to focus on what each nation relies on to be successful as a warfighter.
“Planning is critical so that we may refine and modernize,” said Kneip. “We must focus on reality and how our processes and training will help us move faster.”
Scaparrotti emphasized the need for continued collaboration and communication between staffs and the importance of partnerships, which builds greater trust. “This is all about sharing information,” he said.
Scaparrotti concluded the meetings by complementing the progress that’s been made, the commitment to holding regular EUCOM SHAPE talks, and the importance of the partnerships between staffs.
“These discussions are worth every minute,” said Scaparrotti. “We live in a tough age, so we must do our very best to be ready. We exist to solve hard problems and this is where these conversations and the relationships come in. I appreciate all the hard work that is being done and the time everyone took to have these discussions.”