WARSAW, Poland - Senior military leaders representing 20 allied and partner nations of the National Territorial Commanders Committee met here May 27 for its annual three -day meeting to streamline host-nation support coordination.

Maj. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, led the U.S. delegation at the Polish Armed Forces hosted event, which focused on the creation of an action plan to strengthen interagency coordination to more efficiently respond to civil emergencies, develop a database to capture host nation support of best practices of its members in support of International Security Assistance Force/Operation Enduring Freedom, and establish a framework for future membership expansion.

The NTCC, established in 1986, provides a forum for senior logistical military commanders from 20 allied and partner nations (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the USA) along with observers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, the European Union military staff and the United States European Command to improve host nation cooperation and enhance NTCC members logistics response for exercises, contingencies or operations.

"It is a unique opportunity to work with NATO, the EU and, for example, Switzerland," said Lt. Col. Pawel Kwarto, senior host nation support specialist, Logistics Directorate, Polish Armed Forces general staff. "The most important benefit is a single point of contact amongst the members to ask for host- nation support. For example, if there is a transportation issue between a member state and Poland; I am the single point of contact, and I can solve the problem."

The NTCC allows a more efficient movement of classes of supplies by assisting the member countries in planning, managing and implementing logistics support through knowledge management sharing and strengthening partnerships.

"Membership in the NTCC speeds up access to entering member countries aerial port of debarkation, sea port of debarkation and borders," said Col. Cornel Comeaga, chief, host nation support, Logistics Directorate, Romania Ministry of National Defense. "If a natural disaster occurs in one country, the movement of supplies across several countries is faster and efficient because of the rapid exchange of information and already established standing operating procedures."

The NTCC coordinates and establishes host-nation support to maintain operational access to the ground lines of communication for weapons, ammunition, explosives and sensitive items.

Because the NTCC is an informal organization and does not address classified information or other issues, it is the only host nation support international forum which is not necessarily beholden to NATO or EU regulations.

"It establishes relations to provide better processes, lessons learned and networking," said Lt. Col. Greg Derner, a native of Sac City, Iowa, and a member of the EUCOM J4.

The multi-modal (air and surface) operation at Mihail Kog"lniceanu airbase in Romania, in which the 21st TSC is a participant, is a tangible example of the NTCC at work. The joint operations key tasks are to facilitate reception, staging and onward movement of personnel and equipment in and out of theater.

In an effort to expand the committee's partnerships, Brig. Gen. Jan Dziedzic, the chief of Logistics Planning Directorate Polish Army, signed letters of invitation to the three Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to join the NTCC.