Brunssum, The Netherlands – Commander JFCBS, General Salvatore Farina, took this festive opportunity to address his staff prior to the Christmas holidays.
The General began by expressing his gratitude to the staff for their efforts over the past year and asserting his pride in a command that has been at the forefront of NATO operations. Commander JFCBS reminded the headquarters of the complexity of the security environment that challenges the headquarters and the threats that we face from terrorism, cyber-attacks, hybrid threats and traditional threats, amongst many others; he urged the staff to "plan and prepare across 360 degrees of our alliance", to be "flexible and ready to accomplish our mission."
General Farina highlighted the JFC's commitment to its three core tasks during this period of transition and paid tribute to "what we as a headquarters have achieved this year." The Commander then took the time to reflect on the specific achievements of 2017, both within the headquarters and overseas. In particular, the implementation of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroups, from the Warsaw Summit vision to full operating capability, was a momentous task. The General paid tribute to the innovation and hard work of his staff regarding eFP and spoke of the "month after month persistent cycle to create deterrence." Achievements recognized by the General included JFC's sustainment of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and the success of the many attempts to build enduring relationships throughout the region, such as with the NATO Force Integration Units in support of eFP. The Commander also talked about the memorable 50 Years of NATO in Brunssum Anniversary celebrations – "representing the strength and unity of NATO and our headquarters. "
General Farina spoke about the 'three core values' that he wanted the staff to concentrate on throughout 2018, specifically: innovation, diligence and professionalism. Regarding innovation, the Commander explained that the strength of Brunssum is our people, "supervisors must be provided with courses of action that will problem solve at every level and supervisors must encourage initiative from all staff and allow freedom of thinking." Regarding diligence, the Commander asked for the staff's "devotion and commitment" and for everyone to "make the engine of the JFC stay running fast." Regarding professionalism, the Commander required that each staff member be "treated with the respect they deserved, maintaining the customs and courtesies that make our Alliance such a success." General Farina underlined these values with a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
General Farina asked the staff to face their challenges in a relaxed and easy going manner, without friction and ready to exploit success. He spoke of the need to remember our fallen comrades and urged the staff to foster an environment that was supportive of families, explaining that "if the families are working well, the Brunssum team will be working well – our families are our winning factor".
A short awards ceremony was then conducted by the commander, who awarded 20 JFCBS personnel with Commander's Commendations for their outstanding contributions over the last year. Of particular note, General Farina also awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) to Mrs Catherine Royle, the Senior Advisory Group's Political Advisor.
The Commander ended his address by expressing his pride in the Headquarters saying, "thank you and well done, from the DCOM down to the youngest private soldier, for everything that you do to support the JFC Brunssum mission - merry Christmas and a joyful New Year."
Story by JFCBS Public Affairs Office