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    Posted August 4, 2014 by
    kabul, Afghanistan

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    Campbell Stresses Relationships, Discusses Upcoming ISAF Tour


    By David Vergun
    Army News Service


    WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2014 - Building personal relationships -- whether  with lawmakers, with state governors or with political and military  leaders of nations engaged in the war on terror -- is just as important,  sometimes even more so, as the ability to project force, Army Vice  Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell said Aug. 1.


    Campbell spoke during a farewell media roundtable at the Pentagon. He  departs for Afghanistan later this month as the next International  Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan commander.

    As the drawdown continues, the process of notifying soldiers that  they will be involuntarily separated will be done through the chain of  command with dignity and respect, he said. The Army considers those  leaving, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, to be "soldiers for  life," he added.

    That's why "we've got to do this right," Campbell said.

    While building these soldier-to-soldier relationships up and down  the chain of command during the drawdown is important, it's also  critical to establish rapport with legislators. He, along with Army  Secretary John M. McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, have  been candid with lawmakers regarding the deleterious effects continued  sequestration will have on readiness and the Army's ability to carry out  national security objectives, he noted.

    Besides senior leader visits to Capitol Hill, the Army has been  sending teams of soldiers, including personnel from the National Guard,  to meet with governors to discuss the Army's Aviation Restructuring  Initiative. ARI is the plan to swap National Guard Apache helicopters  for active Black Hawks, a move the Army says will save money and  increase overall readiness.

    "We've sent teams ... to talk to some 25 to 30 governors about  ARI, above and beyond the nine states that have Apaches, and asked them  the question, 'Governor, what do we have to do to convince you or the  people in your state that the Black Hawk or Chinook is much better for  your state mission than an Apache?'" Campbell said.

    While the Army wants the Guard to remain an operational reserve  component, the effects of the budget and drawdown "just don't allow that  to happen," he added. "We're going from 13 active combat aviation  brigades to 10."

    As Campbell prepares to go to Afghanistan, he said, he's been  getting intelligence briefings, and earlier this year, he made a full  circuit through the country, meeting with commanders on the ground to  get their feedback.

    That person-to-person relationship with his commanders will  continue when he returns to Afghanistan this month for his third tour of  duty there, the general said. Since the effort is international, he'll  also be meeting with NATO and regional leaders, he added.

    The importance of personal relationships during this period of  transition in Afghanistan where the United States is drawing down and  the Afghans are stepping up to the fight is critical, he said, adding  that the insurgents cross back and forth along the porous  Afghan-Pakistan border so the discussions and efforts to root them out  is important to the leaders and people of both countries.

    Pakistan and Afghanistan need to remove the terror "that  threatens their people and their way of life," Campbell said. The  conversation, he added, should be, "This is what they're doing to  civilians. This is how bad it is. Let's work together to figure out  solutions. What we'll try to do is continue to work this  [military-to-military] relationship."

    Campbell commended Pakistan for its recent operation in  Waziristan and he said he hopes efforts like those will continue. He  also said he hopes there will be an agreement that allows U.S. and NATO  forces to stay in Afghanistan until the country becomes more stable.  "Ninety-nine percent of the Afghans want us to stay," he said.

    Finally, Campbell provided an example of how relationships  matter. While serving as the commander of Regional Command East in  Afghanistan in 2010, he said, he visited the 11th Corps commander in  Pakistan, a lieutenant general who was a 2006 graduate of the National  Defense University here.

    The general also knew others who'd graduated from NDU, Campbell  said, which helped to build a personal relationship with him right from  the outset.

    "That means if we have something going on, on the border, I can  get on the phone and call him up," he said. "It helped immensely, and I  think we've got to continue working on relationships like those."

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