CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Nine ally and partner foreign liaison officers attached to Marine Corps Combat Development Command visited Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, March 16 and 17.
The visit was an opportunity for FLOs to see first-hand the Marine Corps force design mandated by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The visit allowed the FLOs to learn about the execution of force design and ask various Marine Corps entities about its implementation.
Tim Maas, operations officer and foreign disclosure officer with Combat Development and Integration, guided the group as they attended briefs and toured locations.
“We visited various training areas including the Infantry Immersion Trainer and were invited to attend briefs from key leaders amongst the II MEF forces,” he said.
Maas says that CD&I works on force design and that the officers were able to see and hear about the changes being introduced throughout II MEF.
“A lot of these officers have been around the Marine Corps for 10 or 15 years and they get to see the progression we’ve made and see how ideas back then to now, are coming to fruition,” he said. “They are also able to see the concepts that are always talked about at headquarters during this visit.”
Maas said this visit will be a positive impact on the value of information they can report back to ally and partner nations.
“They take back what they’ve learned here and share that with their respective countries on the positive progression we are making,” he said.
For Singapore Guardsman Senior Lt. Col. Chay Chua, seeing results from years of discussion was very reassuring.
“The last time I was here, was in 2006 and there have been tremendous changes on Camp Lejeune since then,” he said. “It’s a comforting feeling knowing that our nation's force design concepts have come so far in a short time.”
Chua said that visits like this are important because of the knowledge that can be received and given.
“This was a good opportunity to interact and learn with my brothers from the USMC, the friendships we will develop, and I am sure the other liaison officers have had the same positive experience as me from us being here.” Lt. Col. Ron Schepel, Netherlands foreign liaison officer with CD&I
“Our respective nations are intent on learning from the U.S. Marine Corps,” he said. “The majority of our staff have between 20 and 30 years of experience, and we want to be able to share that pool of knowledge to our partner as well.”
Lt. Col. Ron Schepel, the Netherlands foreign liaison officer with CD&I, was thankful to have had the opportunity to speak to II MEF leaders.
“One of my highlights from the visit so far is the openness of the speakers to speak on what the Marine Corps is going through when it comes to force design and the moving forward to the future,” he said. “The Marine Corps is very keen on listening to how its partners and allies are overcoming similar challenges.”
Schepel said that his country's integration process was closely related to how the Marine Corps is returning back to its roots as a maritime force.
“Some of the problems for the future development of the Marine Corps have already occurred in other nations,” he said. “For instance, between the Netherlands Marine Corps and Navy, we had to incorporate into the Navy which made it highly integrated, making the Navy better and allowing us to learn from each other.”
U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David Odom, deputy commanding general for II Marine Expeditionary Force and commanding general of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, answered final questions and provided closing remarks, expressing thanks to liaison officers for their time in visiting Camp Lejeune.
Schepel said he was thankful for the chance to meet with senior leadership and the guided tour of the mission critical facilities on base.
“This was a good opportunity to interact and learn with my brothers from the USMC, the friendships we will develop, and I am sure the other liaison officers have had the same positive experience as me from us being here.”