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NSPA Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last update: 10 June 2020

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) is playing a crucial role supporting NATO and its Allied and Partner nations in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NSPA has provided strategic airlift capabilities and managed key relief acquisition and transport to help Allies transferring urgent medical supplies and equipment. In addition, NSPA has provided rapidly accessible infrastructure to augment national medical capabilities and it has engaged in innovative projects in support of health workers.

At the beginning of the crisis, NSPA set up the COVID-19 Management Office (CMO) to respond to the nations' unprecedented demand for supplies, equipment and services in the medical field. The CMO is the hub for requirements and it manages and coordinates the supply. It includes technical specialists, experts in the field of biomedical engineering, medicine and pharmacy, supported by professionals in operational logistics and procurement.

The CMO also provides support to military contingents in out-of-area operations, with medical supplies and services, and collaborates with NATO entities, particularly with the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC).

Additionally, since the start of the outbreak, NSPA implemented robust measures to limit the spread of the virus and minimised risks to NSPA personnel and the communities they serve.

Strategic Airlift Capabilities

Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS)

SALIS is a multinational programme, managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), providing the nine NATO participating nations with assured access to strategic transport aircraft for outsized cargo. Five NATO nations have used their flying hour quota to airlift urgent medical protective equipment to tackle coronavirus crisis for a total of:

  • 17 missions
  • 468 flying hours
  • 950+ tonnes of medical supplies
AN-124 unloading medical cargo in support to Poland
SAC team during mission in support to Hungary

Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC)

The Strategic Airlift Capability provides assured access to strategic military airlift capability for its 12 member nations, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United States. NSPA manages the full life cycle management of the three C-17 aircraft stationed at Pápa Airbase, including acquisition and sustainment. In total, the SAC delivered:

  • 6 missions
  • 415 flying hours
  • 217 tonnes of medical supplies

COVID-19 testing laboratory for NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission

In May, NSPA delivered a COVID-19 testing laboratory, together with three laboratory technicians, to increase the testing capacity of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission service members.

Since 23 May 2020, the laboratory is operational. It enables the technicians to conduct quick virus detection to limit the spread of the virus and contribute to the necessary protection of all service members deployed in the region.

Laboratory technicians at RS Lab

Key COVID-19 acquisition and transport for NATO Allies

Medical supplies stored at NSPA Warehouse prior distribution to the nations

The current disruptions on health supply chains, competitive high demand and restrictions in the transportation domain, are posing challenges to nations for much-needed medical supplies and equipment.

For this reason, many NATO nations have entrusted NSPA to manage the acquisition and transport on their behalf, benefiting from logistic advantages and economies of scale. Nations can request material through two NSPA mechanisms: the NATO Logistics Stock Exchange (NLSE), or through the Random Brokerage Services (RBS).

The NLSE is a cooperative logistics tool developed by NSPA to assist nations and suppliers on acquisition and management of supplies. While RBS enables NATO Allies and Partners to acquire individual or specific sets of items of services, "random" depicts the infinite type of supplies and equipment that can be acquired.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • 6 chartered flights
  • 12 nations have benefited from this mechanism
  • 81M+ EUR of protective medical supplies (NLSE)
  • 730K+ EUR in orders through RBS (from PPE to ventilators and ambulances)
NSPA is supporting health workers with PPE acquisition and distribution

Mobile Infrastructure e.g. Field Hospitals

In March, NSPA prepared and coordinated the transport and construction of a field hospital with capacity for 200 additional beds to augment the civilian hospital capability in Luxembourg.

Additionally, NSPA will deliver two fully equipped field hospitals to Italy at the end of 2020.

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