LTG Ben Hodges, the Commanding General of US Army Europe and the Seventh Army, spoke to cadets and faculty on Thursday, September 17th as part of the Modern War Institute Speaker Series. He spoke about the challenges facing US Army Europe and our strategic interests in the region.

LTG Hodges emphasized the challenge of making 30,000 troops look like 300,000 troops. He began with a brief video showing his forces current operations. The video, and subsequent comments, highlighted how companies are integrating with our Allied nations for training exercises. Companies and platoons are meeting with leaders from other states and militaries to show US support in the region.

Hodges focused on our two strategic interests in the region. First, the need to help maintain security and stability in the region for our economic relations in Europe. Second, maintaining partnerships with our Allies in Europe.

In contrast, he stated Russia’s objective as breaking apart the great Alliance (NATO) and reestablishing their zone of influence in the region.

LTG Hodges is using five pillars of influence to increase the deterrence effects of his forces.

  • Empowering Junior Leaders
    • Mission command gives smaller formations the ability for larger effects
  •  Leveraging the State Partnership Program with the National Guard and Reserves
    • Guard and Reserve forces partner with a state and conduct operations throughout the year
  • Improving Interoperability with Allies and Partners
    • Ensure preparedness for combined battlefield operations
  • Regionally Aligned Forces (4ID and 10th SF)
    • These two units focus portions of their training efforts to the needs of Europe
  • Active Engagements
    • Increase the influence of our forces with each opportunity

LTG Hodges answered questions from the audience ranging from information space and technology, to the role of Russia’s special operations forces.

The next Modern War Institute event is on Wednesday, 30 September, featuring MG Richard NuGee from the United Kingdom. He will be discussing the complexity of coalition operations with the draw down of ISAF in Afghanistan.