By Greg Jones, 21st TSC Public AffairsNovember 12, 2015
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (Nov. 12, 2015) -- While it may not be intuitive from their unit designations, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, or TSC, and the United Kingdom's Force Troops Command, or UK TFC, have a lot in common. So much in fact that they have developed a formal partnership to continually learn from one another and improve the interoperability of their respective nations.
As part of this ongoing partnership effort, which began in April, UK TFC sent a group of its staff officers to visit the 21st TSC, Nov. 5, to discuss ongoing and future partnership efforts, and mutual challenges both units face, as well as develop a plan of action to continue building on previous successes together.
The partnership efforts between the two units actually began with a long standing partnership between two of their respective subordinate units, the 21st TSC's 16th Sustainment Brigade and the FTC's 104th Logistics Regiment. These two units had been conducting interoperability for some time when leaders keyed in on the fact that each unit's higher headquarters had other functions in common as well, said Lt. Col. Steven Hoglund, 21st TSC G-9.
"The 16th SB and the 104th Log Regiment had been doing partnership events for a while, and when we looked at the fact that both the FTC and the 21st also oversee other functions like medical, MPs [military police], and other sustainment functions, it just made sense to partner at the command level as well," Hoglund said.
The first meeting of this partnership was in April and regular meetings are expected to occur semi-annually.
The FTC is one of two allied units the 21st TSC has a formal ongoing partnership with, the other being the German Army's Logistics Command.
During the meeting, the two sides established formal partnership links within subordinate units like the 30th Medical Brigade and the 7th Mission Support Command, and started to develop plans for how the two sides might benefit from this partnership, and what each side might be able to bring to future partnership efforts.
In times of scarce resources, partnerships like this enable each side to accomplish things that it might otherwise not be capable of doing alone, and helps bring greater efficiency to multinational efforts, said Col. Karl Hickman, UK FTC's chief of staff.
"If we're doing a joint operation, it doesn't make sense for every country to bring their own fuelers. We figure out who does the best fueling, and let them do the fueling for everyone at the exercise," Hickman said. "There simply aren't enough resources for us each to do everything on our own - we've got to work together."
Future meetings of the two partner units will bring further detail to the partnerships and plans established during this visit.
"It's been a good azimuth check, and now I think we've got our way forward," Hickman said.