A British general has been appointed to the post of Deputy Commander, LANDCOM, replacing Italian Army Lt. Gen. Paolo Ruggiero .
Richard Cripwell joined the army in 1982 when he was commissioned into the Engineers. He has served in a number of high-profile posts including Head of the British Defence Staff and Defence Attaché in Washington, D.C. in March 2015. In October 2017 he became Deputy Commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, the NATO-led follow-on mission to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) which stood-down in December 2014. He assumed the appointment of Deputy Commander NATO Allied Land Command on 22 February.
Land Command is a NATO organisation charged with developing interoperability and standardisation within contributing forces in peacetime; in war their mission is to deliver “headquarters elements [and] to provide planning, coordination and C2 capabilities to Allied forces.” LANDCOM’s standardisation mission is achieved largely through a series of conferences and committees who look at the way in which the various armies in NATO can work together more effectively. Topics covered might range from basic tactical SOPS to more complex equipment issues such as comms kit. In wartime the command provides a lot of the NATO headquarters communications infrastructure – good comms being the basis of any integrated operation of course.
LANDCOM, as is the case with so many of NATO’s commands, is led by a US three-star. The current incumbent is Lieutenant General John C. Thomson III. General Thomson seems to take a rather more gung-ho approach to life than his British counterparts might. A rather curiously amateur video on the LANDCOM website is worth watching – though do not expect to see any stellar theatrical performances!