Land Combat Expo to look into future of war
September 11, 2005
(EDITOR’S NOTE: A correction has been made to this article since its original publication.)
HEIDELBERG, Germany — The war in Iraq will be assessed from all sorts of angles — from training lessons and police perspectives to strategic and international implications in the global war on terrorism — at this year’s Land Combat Expo.
The U.S. Army Europe event, a combination of a professional-development forum, lessons-learned briefing and international celebration, runs Wednesday, Sept. 21, through Sept. 23 at the Patrick Henry Village Pavilion in Heidelberg.
It will feature a host of speakers, a variety of military equipment displays and tents full of vendors supplied with freebies.
This is the expo’s fourth year and, according to Maj. Bill Stewart, expo project manager, the best and biggest yet. Its theme is “USAREUR at War Today and Transforming for the Future.”
“We’re an Army at war and we’re taking time to do this with ongoing operations — that’s how important it is to do this,” he said.
“Everyone who comes is going to walk away with some tools to put in their kit bag.”
USAREUR’s commander, Gen. B.B. Bell, will be the opening speaker Wednesday. He is to describe the command’s future as it transforms, reorganizes bases and sends two divisions back to the United States.
Featured speakers the next two days will assess aspects of the war on terrorism. On Thursday, Polish Lt. Gen. Edward Pietrzyk will present an international view of the war and its impact on the future. On Friday, retired U.S. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey will give his strategic assessment of the war.
Local units also will present their war perspectives in seminars. On Wednesday, representatives of the 7th Army Training Command will discuss what it has learned from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on Friday, the 95th Military Police Battalion of the 21st Theater Support Command will present the MPs’ view of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
There also will be seminars not related to Iraq and Afghanistan, including one on nonlethal weapons and another on peace enforcement in Kosovo.
And Stewart stressed that there will be events for civilians and family members not interested in viewing displays of the Stryker or Germany’s Luchs Armored Recon Vehicle.
For example, on Thursday, John Covey, who wrote “Six Secrets of Sustained Superior Performance,” will be presenting seminars on marriages, teenagers and families.
Stewart said event planners are hoping 10,000 to 12,000 people will attend. Bell last month sent out a memo saying he wanted “maximum participation” by the entire workforce, and that commanders and managers were encouraged to let their people attend as part of their duties.
Last year’s expo budget was $600,000, about the same as this year, according to officials who said they were still in the process of adding up all expenditures. None of the speakers is receiving a fee, said Maj. Liz Hibner, a USAREUR spokeswoman, although travel and lodging expenses were being paid by USAREUR.
Stewart said there was no estimate on how many people attended last year’s expo. It had a similar theme — “U.S. Army Europe: At War and Transforming” — but garnered some unwanted controversy when the German military contingent withdrew from the event a few days before it started.
The Germans said they were protesting the inclusion of speaker Ralph Peters, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who had written in the New York Post that maintaining U.S. garrisons abroad was wasteful and ineffective and that European allies were untrustworthy.
This year, Germany is back as a participant, joining Turkey, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, the U.K., Romania, Poland, Italy and Afghanistan in “international partner displays.” A total of 21 countries will have some sort of presence, Stewart said.