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Feature Stories

NEWS | Oct. 31, 2020

U.S. Army Central hosts inaugural virtual intelligence conference

By Story by Sgt. 1st Class Nikki Glanton U.S. Army Central

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- U.S. Army Central headquarters hosted its inaugural Virtual Land Forces Intelligence Conference, Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The conference is typically five days and held face-to-face to enhance relationships with new and existing land force partners, share intelligence multilaterally, and discuss topics important to security and intelligence.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s face-to-face event was canceled and conducted virtually in one day.

“The strength of USARCENT has always been the strength of partnerships throughout the region,” said Col. John S. Chu, USARCENT Director of Intelligence. “Relationships matter, and COVID-19 should not stand in the way of maintaining those relationships.”

Over 60 individuals across 11 countries, 12 partners, and 23 total organizations across eight time zones attended this year’s virtual conference.

“There is a continued demand for partners to work with the United States,” said Chu. “USARCENT and its partners have a shared interest in protecting its people from adversaries.”

Due to the virtual conference’s success, USARCENT will continue hosting annual multi-lateral virtual conferences in addition to the two face-to-face bi-lateral intelligence engagements with partners each year.

“Hosting annual multi-lateral virtual conferences reassures our existing partners that connectivity has not degraded since COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. Quentin McCart, Deputy Director of the USARCENT Intelligence Support Division. “It also opens doors to new relationships with new partners.”

As a result of this year’s first virtual conference, USARCENT established a new relationship with the Ministry of National Guard in Saudi Arabia.

“The Intelligence Conference was a great opportunity to share information and stay connected,” said Saudi Arabian Brig. Gen. Majed Al Osaimi, incoming intelligence deputy director of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of National Guard. “We at MNG look forward to continuing this relationship and look forward to upcoming conferences.”

The following are advantages of conducting virtual multi-lateral intelligence symposiums with Coalition/ Partner Nations in addition to bi-lateral face-to-face engagements:

• Establishes forward presence and robust partnerships in the USARENT footprint.
• Improves rapid transition to operations with Joint and Coalition Forces in a dynamic operational
• Enables coalition warfare across the intelligence warfighting function.
• Advances partner nation cooperation and collaboration.
• Provides and increases access to information for all partner and ally nations.

“We, the intelligence enterprise, couldn’t have done this alone,” said Chu. “We had the fortunate pleasure of getting help from our plans and communications teams. The virtual intelligence conference was an overall USARCENT team effort and success for all.”