Seventy-one members of the United States Army War College International Fellows Class of 2013 visited the National Grape Cooperative Inc. headquarters in Westfield, Cott Corporation in Dunkirk and Manzella Brothers Vineyards, the Cornell University Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory, and 21 Brix Winery, all in Portland, on Oct. 19.
On Oct. 20, the officers were hosted at the American Legion Post 434 in Brocton to learn about how the American Legion not only advocates for American service members, but for the local community as well. The goals of the visit were to afford an opportunity for the foreign officers to understand the U.S. free market society, industry, education research and development, agriculture, specifically the grape industry, and its effects on the local economy in western New York.
Some of the topical issues include: encouragement of private enterprise and individual initiative, creation of favorable investment climates, spurring balanced trade; the independent roles of labor and management, use of a migrant labor work force and its associated challenges; the factors underlying industry and agricultural production, and how environmental protection has altered each; and the role of environmental protection and the role of the Cornell Lake Erie Research Center to benefit industry and growers.
During a “meet and greet” one of the officers form the War College presented Brocton American Legion Commander Henry Link, left, with a class photo of the visiting officers.
The visit not only included discussion on management aspects of the National Grape Cooperative and the role that Welch's growers play in the corporation, the processing standards and procedures at the Cott plant, but a visit to a local grape farm to gain a growers perspective. The Manzella Brothers Vineyards visit gave owners Rick and Michael Manzella an opportunity to demonstrate the latest technology in grape harvesting and offered a snap shot of pre-1968 harvesting methods. Discussions revolved around use of migrant labor and the how the political focus on the latest immigration law reform might affect their operation, Welch's quality control standards and integrated pest management programs.
The Chief of Army Staff, General Raymond T. Odierno, invites his counterpart in at least 80 countries annually to send a qualified officer to attend the one-year Masters of Strategic Studies program at the United States Army War College located at Carlisle Barracks in south-central Pennsylvania. The officers spend the year focusing on three major components of the program. The academic focus provides an opportunity for the senior international military officer to study, research, and write on subjects of significance to their country's security interests.
In order for the visiting officers to better understand life in the United States, the Department of Defense mandates that each visiting foreign officer gain exposure to a variety of cultural and institutional programs with a goal of providing a broad and balanced exposure to the U.S. government, economy, military, private institutions, and the American way of life. Finally, and perhaps the most important, is the interpersonal aspect of the program. In their year at the U.S. Army War College, these officers will establish mutual understanding and good working relationships between themselves and other senior U.S. officers.
The class of 2013 arrived in late June 2012 and attended a six-week orientation course before beginning the Masters of Strategic Studies course in August. This year's class will graduate on June 8.