By Lt. Col. Wayne MarottoOctober 2, 2013
ANTWERP, Belgium - Senior military leaders representing 20 allied and partner nations converged on Antwerp Sept. 23 for a meeting designed to advance initiatives agreed to by 20 senior allied and partner nation logisticians in May 2013, strengthen bilateral host-nation support coordination processes and improve communication coordination.
The meeting of the National Territorial Commanders Steering Committee facilitates more efficient movement of supply classes by assisting member countries in planning, managing, and implementing logistics support through knowledge management sharing and strengthening partnerships.
The NTCC also coordinates and establishes host-nation support to maintain operational access to the ground lines of communication for a wide range of military equipment.
Col. Michael Snyder, the deputy commanding officer of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and NTCC senior American representative, headed the U.S. delegation. Snyder noted the event facilitates better cooperation among American military leaders and logisticians and partner nations.
"The 21st TSC's participation in the NTCC supports the U.S. Army in Europe by allowing the command to work in close concert with senior allied and partner logisticians to facilitate the host-nation logistics support necessary to set the theater for operational sustainment," the Dallas, Ore., native said.
The Belgian Armed Forces hosted the event, which focused on executing currently active host-nation projects discussed during the last NTCC meeting, conducted last May in Warsaw, Poland.
"According to the guidance during the last territorial conference, all current projects were analyzed through the requirements prospective and then staffed according to NTCC-prioritized objectives at the national defense level of member nations," said Romanian Army Col. Cornel Comeaga, chief of host-nation support in the Logistics Directorate of the Romania Ministry of National Defense and NTC forum permanent secretary.
The NTCC took several recent actions designed to improve host-nation support processes. Since March the NTCC has established a database to capture host-nation support "best practices" developed by its members in support of International Security Assistance Force/Operation Enduring Freedom. The committee also developed an action plan designed to strengthen interagency coordination in order to more efficiently respond to civil emergencies.
The NTCC decided to participate in a NATO Logistics GTS host-nation support software development program. The NTC Steering Committee decided that implementing the program would increase NTCC capabilities and improve its manner of conducting business.
The ongoing projects aim to improve the way the NTCC conducts business through revised guidelines and a more robust communication plan. Improved technology and Web-based tools will expedite the communication strategy.
NTCC members also emphasized the importance of expanding the knowledge management network by connecting the NTCC to NATO host-nation support agencies and European Union organizations involved in host-nation matters.
"It is very important that we put host-nation support initiatives in Europe in this forum," said Belgian Army Senior Capt. Eddie Mertens, a native of Voeren, Belgium. "We must put together an effort to facilitate host-nation support. We need to work less on the formal - and concentrate more on the informal - ways to support host nations."
The NTCC's informal status allows it the freedom and flexibility to work outside the elaborate framework of bureaucratic regulations that constrain official governmental agencies. It also encouraged members to build valuable personal relationships.
"This NTCC created an atmosphere to foster better networking and better interoperability," said Belgian Army Warrant Officer Guy Colman, a native of Flanders, Belgium.
The NTC Steering Committee also revised NTCC guidelines on national transportation. The NTCC has expanded threefold since its inception and has actively supported multiple NATO, EU and coalition operations. These operations placed ever-increasing demands on host-nation support resources.
"Our fundamental principles are sound," said Jack Kizler, the 21st TSC assistant chief of staff for Civil-Military Operations and International Logistics. "However, in revising the guidelines, we will be able to add to the transportation dimension, the full attributes of host-nation support, both from national capacity and capability views using HNS matrices."
Kizler added that the guideline revisions, along with streamlined planning requirements processes, will significantly improve allied and partner logistics planning processes for exercises, operations and crisis management missions.
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 United States) as well as observers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, the European Union military staff and the U.S. European Command to improve host-nation cooperation and enhance logistical responsiveness for exercises, contingencies and operations.