The Bayonet

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014

Global security focus of lunch speaker series

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Fort Benning Soldiers and civilians have a new opportunity to expand their horizons when it comes to world affairs.

The Language, Regional Expertise and Culture initiative of the Directorate of Training and Doctrine is sponsoring the Brown Bag Culture Series. The series will take place Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Derby Auditorium in McGinnis-Wickam Hall. It will feature foreign military speakers who will discuss security challenges in different regions of the world. In the first installation of the series on Feb. 4, French liaison officer Lt. Col. Frederic Aubanel spoke about France’s military involvement in Mali and other African countries.

“This is a great opportunity for American officers and NCOs to understand the complexities of what our allies are doing around the world,” said Col. Patrick Donahoe, director of Training and Doctrine. “We have the largest amount of foreign officers and NCOs at any U.S. military training facility, so this is a great way to tap into this ready-made instructor base.”

The Brown Bag Culture Series is free and open to everyone at Fort Benning. Attendees are welcome to bring their lunches with them and eat during the talks, Donahoe said.

“If you’re a security practitioner, understanding regional security challenges can only make you better at your job,” he said. “We don’t know where we’re going next, but you never know when you might find yourself in a part of the world you didn’t expect.”

Jenny Meier, LREC initiative coordinator, also emphasized the need for Soldiers to be informed of security issues around the world.

“It is so important for Soldiers to actually meet people from other countries and to understand what it’s like to be them,” she said. “We’re building alliances that way.”

The talks fit in with the Maneuver Center of Excellence’s move to align itself with the Army’s “University Model” concept, which aims to improve effectiveness by incorporating elements of how universities are organized and function into the Army.

“During lunchtime at any good academic institution, they always have discussions going on, and Fort Benning is a military academic institution,” Donahoe said.

Some future speakers will include service members from El Salvador, Dominican Republic and South Korea.

A full list with dates will be made public once it is finalized.

“The bottom line is that over the past 12 years, we’ve developed a lot of skills for working with local populations,” said Lt. Col. Trevor Robichaux, LREC lead for MCoE. “We have to continue to be ready for the future.”

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