Aug. 5, 2016 —
Lt. Gen. Perry L. Wiggins, commanding general of U.S. Army North and Fifth Army, hosted a U.S. Military and Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional delegation in Kansas City, Kansas, as part of the 70th Fifth Army Inter-American Relations Program July 18 to 22. The visit included a stop at Fort Riley to meet with 1st Infantry Division Soldiers.
“FIARP is about relationships,” said Col. John Highfill, chief of ARNORTH’s Security Cooperation Division G3/7. “This multi-decade program between the Fifth Army and SEDENA has formed the basis for the ‘partnership bridges’ that we have mutually benefited from since its inception in 1946. The senior leaders from both militaries form friendships, both personally and professionally, that create not just strong bonds at the Soldier level, but between the nations as well.”
FIARP is an annual Headquarters, Department of the Army-funded weeklong program established after World War II where seven Mexican army general officers and their spouses visit Army installations and civilian agencies in the United States.
The goal of the program is to enhance Army-to-army relations, increase interoperability and exchange ideas on how to improve our efforts to confront common threats of strategic implication working towards a stronger defense of North America.
“I have had the distinct honor and privilege to participate in the FIARP, a program that shares and exchanges topics of interest at the strategic level with our partners in the Mexican army and Air Force,” Wiggins said. “During the past several years, I have witnessed first-hand the growth and maturation of our relationship with the professional army of Mexico. FIARP has played an incredible role in that strategically important relationship.”
This year, the delegation visited the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to discuss the Army University, a Professional Military Education system to include CGSC, the School for Advanced Military Studies and the Pre-Command Course.
The delegation also visited the Center for Army Lessons Learned to discuss the U.S. Army’s after-action review and lessons learned process and how it informs revision of Army doctrine. They further discussed the living doctrine process and the Doctrine 2020 initiative.
“It’s obvious that we are more alike as militaries and allies than not,” said Brig. Gen. James Blackburn, ARNORTH deputy commanding general. “Dialogue and professional military discussion brings us closer together in both substance and appreciation because, after all, we are neighbors for life.”
The delegation also received a briefing on “How the Army Runs” from the Command and General Staff College to help them understand the processes and procedures within the U.S. Army. This is the same brief presented to the students at the Army War College.
The 70th FIARP delegation finished the week by visiting and touring a 1st Combat Aviation Brigade maintenance hangar to discuss the organizational maintenance program and the Fort Riley Mission Training Center to discuss the role of simulations in training.
While at the MTC, the delegation discussed the integration of virtual, live and constructive elements and units to enrich training at all levels, especially in a budget-constrained environment. The members of the delegation experienced the simulations systems to get a feel for the realism of the new simulators followed by a static display of military equipment to demonstrate the U.S. combat power.
FIARP continues to be one of the most strategic engagements between ARNORTH and SEDENA, according to information from ARNORTH. The Army’s military-to-military activities with Mexico support the U.S. government’s strategic goals of promoting social and economic opportunity and ensuring the security and defense of North America in order to create the conditions for greater prosperity in North America and the Western Hemisphere, according to information from ARNORTH.
“I always remember the comments an old friend from Mexico expressed during FIARP,” Wiggins said. “’You can always choose your friends — you cannot choose your neighbors.’ We are truly blessed to have our friends from SEDENA as our partners.”