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Chief of Army Staff to journalists: ‘Society needs you to inform on what we do and how we do it’

Friday, January 29, 2016

Number: 4833

Traditional breakfast on the occasion of the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales

The CAS delivering his speech

The CAS delivering his speech (Photo:Iván Jiménez/DECET)

The president of the Association during his speech

The president of the Association during his speech (Photo: Iván Jiménez/DECET)

A breakfast at Army HQ (Madrid) to mark the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, has again brought together defence reporters and soldiers. “Society needs you to inform on what we do and how we do it,” stated the Chief of Army Staff, Army General Jaime Domínguez Buj, to explain the symbiosis which should characterise the relationship between the two professions.

The CAS offered an overview of the activities of the Army in 2015 to the 56 journalists from 38 different media who were in attendance. Domínguz Buj described the institution of the military as “a fundamental pillar of Spanish intervention overseas,” currently deployed in more locations than ever – Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, Iraq, Mali, Senegal, Central African Republic, Somalia and Turkey – “which requires a significant training and logistic effort, even though some of the contingents deployed are less numerous than in the past.”

Regarding the activities of the Army within our borders, the Army General emphasised the completion of the reorganisation of the Force, which will take place throughout 2016, as well as the restructuring taking place within Force Support (Personnel Command, Army Logistic Support Command and Economic Administration & Teaching System). Furthermore, he pointed out the reforms still outstanding, i.e. the coordination of logistic bodies and teaching centres. On the subject of personnel, the CAS reasserted the idea that people “are our top priority and our best asset” and stressed the work of the Personnel Support Directorate and the launch of the new Personnel Action Plan. Concerning the latter, he explained that it reassured soldiers because “now they know what is expected of them and that they should be doing throughout their professional career.”

The CAS has not neglected to refer to Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, the largest carried out by NATO forces in the last few decades. It took place last autumn and its main setting was Spain. The exercise posed five simultaneous challenges to the Army, according to Domínguez Buj: Realising the very first VJTF (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force) on the ground; certifying the High Readiness (Land) HQ in Bétera in the command of a VJTF; launching the concept of Joint Logistic Support Group; offering host nation support; and organising lower level exercises for the units deployed for the main exercise.

For his part, the president of the Association of Defence Journalists, Emilio Andreu, thanked the Army for this annual meeting and remembered the colleagues kidnapped in Syria, Antonio Pampliega, José Manuel López and Ángel Sastre, as well as Corporal Francisco J. Soria, killed by Israeli fire a year ago in Lebanon.