VICENZA, Italy – U.S. Army Africa Commanding General Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling hosted a commander’s forum at the Golden Lion conference center on Caserma Ederle Aug. 31 - Sept. 3.
The conference is an annual event, held to ensure USARAF's leaders understand and can reinforce the commander’s vision, mission and priorities in their organizations. Because of current travel and safety precautions in place to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, a number of participants attended via online streaming services.
Rohling opened the conference by presenting his objectives for the conference as the command navigates current coronavirus-related issues, as well as looks forward to resuming the pre-pandemic operation tempo on the continent.
“The focus of this conference will be to capture the lessons learned from the fiscal year 20 units and make sure we’re prepared and ready for 2021,” he said. “I think we can look back at what we had planned for 2020 and what we were able to execute because of COVID-19, as not necessarily the same thing. So, in a lot of ways we need to look back not just at what we did in 2020, but also at what we did in 2019. How do we move into 2021, given today’s current conditions? We must be well postured to do that.”
Rohling also said his overarching priority for the command is aligning with the U.S. Africa Command’s priorities.
“My first priority will always be, and my philosophy is: Do what my boss tells me to do,” he said. “If anybody listens to Gen. (Stephen) Townsend for more than a minute, you’ll see that he has five priorities. We occupy about three of those priorities on any given day. My expectation is that we’re going to accomplish those priorities.”
Some presentations and discussions during the conference highlighted optimizing strategies and contingencies necessary for operating in a degraded environment, including planning for large-scale exercises like African Lion 2021; integrating the 1st and 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigades into the mission and amplifying their capabilities; and upcoming organizational developments.
Rohling encouraged USARAF’s leaders to continue to magnify USARAF’s and the Army’s values by encouraging and enabling their Soldiers to maintain fitness and readiness, embrace educational opportunities, seek and provide mentorship and, above all, treat everyone with dignity and respect.
“This command has a great reputation, and everything I’ve seen in the last 45 days (of being in command) tells me it’s a well-deserved reputation, he said. “I think we’re going in the right direction.”