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EU Commanders’ Conference in Ulm

15.11.2021

Multinational Joint Headquarters Ulm (MN JHQ Ulm) located at Wilhelmsburg Barracks in Ulm hosted the 2021 Annual European Union (EU) Military Commanders’ Conference on 11 November. High-ranking representatives from all command authorities relevant to the Brussels-based EU Military Staff and delegates participated in this conference.

Under the chair of Director-General of the EU Military Staff, French Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, the topic dominating the agenda was strengthening the EU’s common security and defense policy. Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, Commander of MN JHQ Ulm, considers the conference an important step towards further intensifying the multi-faceted relations in military cooperation. An additional focus was placed on the concept for the EU’s rapid response forces known as EU Battlegroup.

 

Many Years of EU Expertise. The Ulm Command has been available to serve the EU as a military-strategic headquarters for more than ten years now. After being charged with this task in 2012 and 2016, the MN JHQ Ulm once more assumed the role of military-strategic headquarters for the EU Battlegroup provided by Germany between July 2020 and March 2021, coinciding with the German EU Council presidency. With its new structure, the Ulm Command will bring its proven expertise to bear again in 2025.

New Structure Since 2021. In 2021, the MN JHQ Ulm completed a reorganization process, consolidating its clear focus on EU tasks. One important feature of the new structure is a multinational augmentation capability, which is tailored to specific needs and used in the event of an activation triggered by the EU’s political decision makers.

Ulm: Synergies Between EU and NATO. As one of the two multinational headquarters based at Wilhelmsburg Barracks, the new MN JHQ Ulm provides a fertile ground for close cooperation between the EU and NATO. To Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, Commander of the MN JHQ Ulm and JSEC (Joint Support and Enabling Command), the new NATO HQ, the Ulm garrison is an ideal interface between the EU and NATO. With two high-value headquarters, military personnel from 27 different nations and state-of-the-art infrastructure, Ulm has developed into a garrison nowhere else to be found in the Bundeswehr, representing the high potential of integrating the German armed forces into EU and NATO structures.