The event gathered 77 commercial transport specialists from 48 companies and 15 officials from Military Commands, NATO and EU Organizations, including NATO Transport Planning Groups, European Union Military Staff, NATO Joint Support and Enabling Command, Movement Coordination Centre Europe, USAFRICOM, USEUCOM, USTRANSCOM, 21st TSC, (US Theater Sustainment Command), SDDC (US Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command) and US NDTA Europe & Africa forums (National Defense Transport Association).
In her opening remarks, NSPA General Manager, Ms Stacy Cummings, welcomed the participants and referred to NATO summit in Madrid at the end of last week, during which the Heads of State and Governments agreed a new NATO Strategic Concept. This provided a timely and meaningful context for this event and demonstrated the sense of urgency behind the requirements for efficient transportation and logistics to support the Alliance.
NATO changing its force posture means that more land forces will be deployed to Nations on NATO's eastern flank. These forces will not be permanently stationed, but rotated on a regular basis with plans that enable their rapid reinforcement. In addition, all NATO forces will increase their readiness, hence the headline figure of 300,000 troops at higher readiness.
The ability to deploy and sustain NATO Forces relies heavily on the use of multimodal commercial lift capacities – sea, air, rail, road and waterway. In addition, transportation must be readily available in the right timeframe. This is a challenge that can find a solution in the commercial sector.
Traditionally, nations have sourced commercial transportation to move and sustain their forces on a national basis. However, this leads to duplicative efforts and competition in the market place amongst Allies. Not only is this inefficient, but it also drives up costs. Therefore, nations are increasingly interested in multinational efforts and this is one of the key and unique capabilities offered by NSPA.