NEWS | July 16, 2021

USARCENT Hosts First Virtual Land Forces NCO Symposium

By Spc. Keon Horton USARCENT

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Partner nations’ sergeants major from the U.S. Central Command theater joined U.S. Army Central’s senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Hester, and sergeants major from the Army Service Component Command's staff for the first virtual USARCENT Land Forces NCO Symposium, hosted July 14 at Patton Hall.

Command sergeants major and sergeants major from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates dialed in from their respective countries to participate in the event designed to reenergize professionalism, development, and relationships across partner nations NCOs.

“The partnerships we strengthen today are what will make the different in our NCO Corps 10 to 20 years down the road,” said Hester. “Opportunities like this allow us to get to know each other, understand each other and the similarities and differences between our militaries’ cultures, and discover ways we can help each other overcome similar obstacles to grow.”

The symposium featured sessions focused on Security Cooperation Training Events across the region and future NCO development activities in theater to include exchanges, seminars, and symposiums.

“We can’t fight alone,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Hassan Ali Kaidi Karam of the United Arab Emirates Land Forces. “So the most important thing we can do is help each other grow and learn through teaching and training together.”

The symposium also included a capabilities brief by the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade’s Command Sgt. Maj. James L. Light who spoke on the SFAB’s roles, structure, and how its professional teams of advisors integrate across the theater to enhance trust and build cohesion and interoperability with foreign security forces.

Experts from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Security Assistance Training Field Activity’s CENTCOM branch also dialed in to provide an overview of the opportunities available for partner nation NCOs to attend U.S. professional military education schools throughout their careers culminating with the potential to attend the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Course that several of the partner nation’s current command sergeants major graduated from over the past decade.

Hester said, “The relationships we build in these sorts of courses and training opportunities are important. They carry with us and grow through the years, and only get stronger and blossom with symposiums and engagements like this, where we invest time by coming together all in the same space, all sharing, complimentary to each other.”

All of the partner nation senior NCOs echoed Hester’s comments, as they shared their respective country’s NCO development plans and progress and engaged in dialogue with each other and dozens of U.S. Army sergeants major from the USARCENT staff who participated at Patton Hall.

The event ultimately reenergized existing relationships, introduced new dialogue, and sparked planning for future face-to-face gatherings across the region that will build on the initial success of this first virtual symposium.