Whitehead: Relationships the ‘Magic Ingredient’ in NCO Improvement in Europe | Article

Ukrainian Chief Grasp Sgt. Oleksandr Kosynskyi, the command senior enlisted chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, talks with Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony Whitehead, the SEA to the chief, Nationwide Guard Bureau, through the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Worldwide Command Senior Enlisted Convention in Casteau, Belgium, Sept. 7, 2022. (U.S. Army Nationwide Guard picture by Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely)
(Picture Credit score: Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely)


MONS, Belgium – Standing in a metropolis twice liberated from enemy occupation within the final century, the 2 senior enlisted army leaders of Moldova and Ukraine conversed in Russian — a standard language within the neighboring former Soviet Republics.

They had been right here amongst a gaggle of NATO alliance chief of defense-level command senior enlisted leaders for the Worldwide CSEL Convention hosted at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, or SHAPE, together with U.S. European Command, final week.

Their spontaneous dialogue centered on the significance of a robust NCO corps to every nation’s safety and army construction, a principal theme of the convention.

“We spoke concerning the conflict in Ukraine and the way it connects with our NCO corps and the way forward for Moldova’s NCO growth,” stated Ukrainian Chief Grasp Sgt. Oleksandr Kosynskyi, the command senior enlisted chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “NCOs have been a vital a part of our defensive response.”

NCO growth in accomplice nations is a key initiative of NATO and the U.S. Nationwide Guard. Twenty-three European nations, together with Moldova and Ukraine, are aligned with Guard parts within the Protection Division Nationwide Guard Bureau State Partnership Program. This system encompasses the Nationwide Guard of each U.S. state and territory and 93 accomplice nations worldwide.

Ukraine was paired with the California Nationwide Guard in 1993 as one of many program’s constitution members. By way of the SPP, the Nationwide Guard conducts military-to-military engagements to assist world protection and safety targets.

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Armed Forces of Ukraine advanced, recognizing the necessity for a professionalized NCO cohort. The AFU started working with its California Guard companions and NATO to develop a reliable and efficient NCO corps.

“On this conflict, it doesn’t matter which type of approach or know-how we use; persons are nonetheless essential …essential,” Kosynskyi stated. “Trendy warfare wants accountable, competent and motivated NCOs. Now we have an enormous historical past of cooperation with the California Nationwide Guard, which has given us good assist.”

Assist, particularly in constructing knowledgeable NCO drive that the U.S. army’s most senior enlisted chief stated has fueled Ukraine’s robust response all through Russia’s unprovoked invasion this 12 months.

“One factor that took the Russians unexpectedly was the effectiveness and autonomy of the Ukrainian NCO corps,” Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón Colón-López stated. “That wasn’t by chance as a result of the State Partnership Program has been there since 1993.

“That success is within the DNA of the partnership between the California Nationwide Guard and Ukraine and their NCO growth initiatives,” the SEAC stated.

Senior Enlisted Advisor Tony Whitehead, the Nationwide Guard’s high enlisted chief, stated Ukraine has additionally labored intently with rotational Guard items from different states throughout the Joint Multinational Coaching Group-Ukraine. JMTG-U was relocated from western Ukraine to the Grafenwoehr Coaching Space in Germany earlier this 12 months.

Whitehead cited his go to to Grafenwoehr with Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the Nationwide Guard Bureau, in June. There, they met with seventh Army Coaching Command personnel and the Florida Guardsmen who had been reunited and coaching once more with a few of their Ukrainian companions.

“It was so priceless to see that magic ingredient that makes the SPP particular: relationships,” Whitehead stated of the shut ties between the Florida Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Fight Crew and AFU members. The 53rd IBCT transferred command of JMTG-U to the New York Guard’s twenty seventh IBCT final month.

It’s merely a continuation of the robust ties Guardsmen have constructed with their Ukrainian counterparts, he stated.

“Aleks [Kosynskyi] was appreciative of Ukraine’s partnerships with the Guard,” Whitehead stated. “He stated it was very a lot a cornerstone of their confidence.”

Because the inception of the SPP, accomplice nations and their Guard counterparts have educated collectively to construct safety capability. They’ve additionally participated shoulder-to-shoulder in NATO missions and contingency operations throughout the globe.

“The State Partnership Program is a superb alternative to work collectively to enhance abilities and readiness and acquire expertise on the particular person stage in addition to unit stage,” stated Croatian Command Sgt. Maj. Dražen Klanjec, the Croatian Armed Forces command senior enlisted chief. “Our partnership with the Minnesota Nationwide Guard evolves yearly and covers many areas, together with infantry, air drive operations, and cybersecurity.

“The official title is State Partnership Program,” he added, “however on the enlisted stage, that is actually a ‘soldier friendship program’.”

Town of Mons, and its wealthy historical past, offered the backdrop for the convention. The CSELs had been led on a guided strolling tour by means of town that was liberated from German occupation by Canadian forces in 1918, successfully ending World Battle I.

It’s becoming that Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Mathers, the command senior enlisted chief for Allied Command Operations at SHAPE, is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Mathers stated the work of NATO’s Partnership Directorate and the Guard’s SPP are “sport changers” in NCO growth in European accomplice nations and past.

“[NCO development] isn’t one thing you’ll be able to bottle up and take two earlier than battle,” he stated. “It have to be executed over time. Companion nations work collectively and expertise different methods of working.

“That approach, they find yourself with a seasoned model of management,” he added, “that’s extra deadly and intimidating.”

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