by Senior Airman Nicole Sikorski
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
10/29/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- More
than 200 U.S. service members from the U.S. Africa Command and NATO
partners attended the annual Regional Synchronization Working Group
conference kickoff Oct. 26, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
The event brought together Africa-focused security cooperation leaders
from the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency
for International Development and other personnel to synchronize
efforts across the diplomatic, defense and developmental sectors in
The five-day conference began with an all-call, where U.S. Army Gen.
David M. Rodriguez, AFRICOM commander, gave his opening comments.
"It is always great to be here at Ramstein," he said. "I want to thank
everyone for their planning and execution efforts and the teamwork
required to pull this all together. ... I appreciate the work it took to
bring people together from all of these different countries to the
conference and for taking care of that many people."
During the conference, Rodriguez and other AFRICOM leaders spoke about
the 50-year theater campaign plan to build defense capabilities, respond
to crises, deter and defeat transnational threats in order to advance
U.S. interests, and promote regional security, stability and prosperity.
U.S. Army Capt. Ross Hertline, executive aid for U.S. Army Maj. Gen.
Darryl A. Williams, U.S. Army Africa commander, shared the importance of
the integration of partnered nations and joint forces at the
"It is important to come together because nothing that we do within the
DOD is a sole service," said Hertline. "Everything we do in Africa
involves the (U.S.) Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines; so it's critical
that we are synchronized both amongst ourselves and when we go to the
continent so we can present that same united front to the Africans,
showing them the benefits of joint operability."
Although leaders within AFRICOM work closely, they are geographically
separated; so coming together to align their focus is a must to meet
their commander's intent.
"It's important to coordinate with agencies we don't normally get that
face-to-face feedback with," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Nels Nelson,
U.S. Air Forces in Europe African region operational plans branch chief.
The RSWG conference will conclude Oct. 30.