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Letter from the Executive Committee

Dear member,

The SOA's Executive Committee would like to provide you with an update on recent developments, in particular the state of play of the 2010 General Assembly taskings, and upcoming events.

The Executive Committee currently comprises eight SOA volunteers and the SHAPE Public Affairs Office Liaison Officer:

Günter Bretschneider, NATO Civilian & LTC (ret) DEU AF – Co-Chairman
 
Véronique Leroy, NATO Civilian – Treasurer
 
Christiane Hermant, NATO Civilian – Assistant Treasurer
 
Jean-Marie Boulet, Cdt (ret) BEL A – Data Base Manager
 
Jürgen Walter, NATO Civilian (ret) – Web Manager
 
Scott Sunquist, NATO Civilian (ret) – Project Manager
 
Marie-José Van Der Eecken NATO Civilian (ret)
 
Dariusz Kacperczyk, LTC POL A – SHAPE Public Affairs Officer
 
The positions of Chairman and Secretary are vacant.

Minutes of the Executive Committees meetings and other relevant documents have been posted to the SOA´s public website and can be found following this link: http://www.aco.nato.int/shapeofficerassociation.aspx

First of all, the Executive Committee would like to thank all members for the very useful comments provided on the constitution. Roughly 100 members responded to the invitation to comment the draft that was circulated 30 March 2011. In the meeting on 11 May, the Executive Committee reviewed and discussed some 50 substantive comments. Practically all comments could be accommodated in the final draft of the constitution. The member's comments have been extremely helpful to improve the quality of the final product. The constitution has now been submitted to the SHAPE Command Group for approval of the SOA as a Group 2 MWR activity.

The census that was conducted at the end of 2010 brought the number of SOA members down to some 400 members. This is not a bad result after all as these are truly the members that have a genuine interest in the Association. The breakdown by nationality and membership type that has been posted on the SOA's website (http://www.aco.nato.int/shapeofficerassociation.aspx) shows that about two third of all members hold a lifetime membership.

The most important upcoming event will be the annual SOA Symposium which will feature the 2011 General Assembly on Friday, 14 October 2011 at SHAPE. The preliminary program can be found on the SOA's website (http://www.aco.nato.int/shapeofficerassociation.aspx).

Please note that 30 rooms have been blocked at the Best Western Hotel & Aparthotel Casteau Resort (info@casteauresort.be, Tel. +32 (0)65 320 400) and members wishing to stay in a hotel are encouraged to confirm their reservation directly with the hotel.

At the General Assembly members will have to make some very important decisions pursuant to the Associations future, e.g. approval of the new constitution, approval of future membership dues and welcoming a new President (General (ret) James Jones – SACEUR 2003 to 2006 – will take over the Presidency from General (ret) George Joulwan who will be stepping down).

The new constitution will allow members that cannot come to a general assembly in person to cast their vote on-line.. Although strictly speaking this will come into effect only after the constitution has been approved absent members will be invited this time to make use of this very useful provision and will be able to vote on the constitution and the future membership dues. A package with all relevant information for the Symposium will be e-mailed to members in the second half of August. The registration deadline will be 30 September 2011.

The scope of the 2011 Symposium has to be tailored to the capacity of the Executive Committee and the financial situation of the SOA. The SOA volunteers are determined to organize the General Assembly and encourage interested members to make their own arrangements for recreational activities. Owing to the fact that SHAPE no longer supports SOA activities financially, i.e. with services free of charge, dictates a prudent approach to expenses. The Executive committee is seized to limit expenses during this period of limited income to the absolute minimum.

With regard to membership dues the Executive Committee will submit the following proposal for approval at the GA:

 Effective 1 January 2012 the membership dues will be 10 Euro annually.

 The option to pay for five year and for life membership will no longer be available.

 During a transition period the members that have paid for five years can maintain their membership until it expires; after that they will be invited to renew their membership at 10 Euro annually.

 During the transition period lifetime members will be "grandfathered” till the end of 2015; they will be invited to renew their membership at 10 Euro annually effective 1 January 2016.

Until the new membership dues regime comes into effect members are encouraged to make only annual dues payments (currently 5 Euro). We regret to inform you that five 3 year and life time memberships are no longer available and payments to that end will be returned. Please also note that checks are no longer in use in Belgium and payments can be made only by bank transfer to the SOA's account, IBAN: BE32 2707 9659 7702, BIC: GEBABEBB, at Fortis BNP Paribas, B-7020 NIMY.

Another upcoming event will be a social function, i.e. happy hour, for SOA members that will be organized on 7 September 2011 from 17:00 to 18:00 hours at the SHAPE Club. An invitation message for this event will be sent to members residing in Belgium in due course.

Finally, we would like to inform you that since 9 May 2011 the President of the German Chapter is Brigadier General (ret) DEU AF Horst Lemke (H2BLemke@t-online.de ).

SHAPE, 22 June 2011

(signed)

Günter Bretschneider
Acting Chairman
On behalf of the SOA
Executive Committee


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