NSPA Inauguration Ceremony

02 July 2012

Following decisions made by NATO Heads of State and Government at the Lisbon Summit of November 2010, approving the consolidation and rationalization of the functions and programmes of NATO agencies, the new NATO Support Agency (NSPA) was created on 1 July 2012. It gathers into one entity the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA) and the Central Europe Pipeline Management Agency (CEPMA).

An inaugural ceremony was held in Capellen, Luxembourg, on 2 July 2012, to celebrate the stand-up of the new NATO Support Agency. Addresses were made by H.E. Mr Paul Duhr, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, General Manfred Lange, Chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mr David Wright, who would chair the NSPO Agency Supervisory Board's first meeting, and Mr Mike Lyden, NSPA General Manager.

General Lange praised the work and efforts which were successfully undertaken by the transition team to achieve the establishment of NSPA. He is certain that in response to such times of economic instability and crisis, NSPA will be a fundamental tool in the realisation of the Smart Defence initiative. To this objective, General Lange stated that SHAPE will closely cooperate with NSPA.

On his behalf, Mr. Wright confessed how he initially was not in favour of the reform, but how throughout the course of the transition he grew increasingly convinced of the success that the reform would be. He in fact reminded us that this reform entails the integration of three already very successful agencies, which can only lead to an increment of efficiency, effectiveness and cooperation.

In the same spirit, General Manager Lyden stated his positive certainty about the successful history that the new Agency will write: as a matter of fact, NSPA will avail of a strong team, with common objectives, and specific capabilities. With these means, NSPA can realistically provide Smart Support within the framework of the Smart Defence initiative. Furthermore, the General Manager did not fail to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and work undertaken in Luxembourg, Italy, France and Hungary; by the various NATO military committees; and by the new members. Finally, he unveiled the logo of the new agency.

The ceremony was concluded by a speech by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr Duhr, who – after an entertaining personal anecdote on how the former NAMSA has always been part of his childhood memories as his and his friends’ "playground" – greeted the new Agency with an appreciation of the former Agency’s ability to change and adapt efficiently and successfully to NATO’s evolving needs.

The creation of the new Agency was also addressed and celebrated by NSPA’s team in Afghanistan, where MG Antoni, JFC HQ Brunssum DCOS SPT, Capt. Aulie (RNOR Navy), Norwegian Contingent Commander in Afg., Capt. van der Zee (RNLD Navy), Dutch Contingent Commander in Afg., LTC. Pauw, AWACS Detachment Commander in Afg., Capt. Lars (GE AF), Camp Commander, Camp Marmal, Afg., and other distinguished guests gathered for a celebratory dinner and for the introduction of the new logo.

Local stand-up ceremonies will take place in NSPA's two offsite multinational programmes, on 6 July in Papá, Hungary at the NATO Airlift Management Programme (NAMP) and 9 July in Versailles, France, at the Central Europe Pipeline Management Programme (CEPS).

At the Lisbon Summit on 19-20 November 2010, Heads of State and Government approved the consolidation and rationalization of the functions and programmes of the NATO agencies into three agencies. As a result, and following a structured transition process in which the highest standards of support levels are being maintained, the existing in-service support agencies – i.e. the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA) and the Central Europe Pipeline Management Agency (CEPMA) – merged into the new, single NATO Support Agency (NSPA) on 1 July 2012.

The intent of the NSPA General Manager, Mr Mike Lyden, is to keep the transition as simple as possible – a transition characterized by the slogan: "As is, Where is." The aim is to minimize upfront actions, reduce risks and alleviate anxiety while maintaining capabilities and service delivery. The former agencies' operations will be incorporated in the NSPA as business segments. The Logistics Operations segment, formerly the remit of NAMSA, will continue, logistics support being provided for weapon systems, NATO initiatives and NAC-approved operations; the CEPS programme segment, formerly CEPMA, will continue managing the transportation and storage of fuel for military and non-military customers; and the Airlift Management Programme segment, formerly NAMA, will carry on supporting the operation of its C17 aircraft and the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW). Service delivery is thus maintained and capabilities and in-house expertise are preserved. Existing contract terms and conditions, agreements & commitments will remain unchanged. Continuity of existing partner relationships is assured, and these will be subsumed within the NSPA. Existing policies, regulations and directives will remain in place (unless superseded or specifically rescinded).

The NSPA’s ambition is to become "NATO’s single, integrated logistics network", and to take the lead role in building and managing that network in a cost-effective manner for the benefit of NATO and its partners in support of the "Smart Defence" concept. The vision of the NSPA is to deliver "Smart Support", which it sees as a critical enabler for the success of the Smart Defence initiative – an initiative which it serves and within which it "nests". In these times of austerity, Smart Support involves combining NATO’s existing logistics and procurement activities in a single organization that fully leverages current capabilities, building on them to provide integrated support solutions based on best practices to promote Smart Defence, address evolving capabilities and facilitate the conduct of future NATO missions and operations at a lower overall cost to NATO Nations. In realizing its Smart Support vision, the NSPA helps maximize the effectiveness and flexibility of the Alliance's armed forces and contingents and of other relevant organizations.

NATO’s new Connected Forces Initiative – whereby Allies and partner nations must share the responsibility for producing capabilities and forces must cooperate in the most effective way – was recently grafted onto the Smart Defence concept. This initiative has particular resonance for the NSPA in terms of logistics capabilities, as nations, with the assistance of the Agency, can join together to obtain the support and services their forces require. In assuming this role, the NSPA connects all the players, including industry partners, involved in Smart Support; it enhances cooperation, promotes the best use of resources, creates synergies, preserves existing capabilities and develops new ones.