KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Logistics leaders from U.S. Army Europe, U.S. European Command and several allied countries took a five-country tour of ports, railheads, warehouses and other sustainment and forward movement facilities around Southern Europe April 25-28.
The "Southern Sustainment Terrain Walk," organized by the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, took the key leaders to facilities in Turkey, Georgia, Romania, Slovenia and Italy.
During the trip the group looked at seaports, airports, railheads and storage capacity available to move personnel and equipment around the European theater quickly and efficiently.
"We need to understand the infrastructure we have," said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the U.S. Army Europe commanding general. "We need to figure out how fast we can move and what capabilities we have to enable that freedom of movement, to move quickly and unfettered."
During the tours, leaders discussed planned improvements for many of the military facilities and ways to make logistical movement faster through the European Theater and improve cooperation across NATO nations.
"This is a very good opportunity to get familiar with the (NATO Land Force Command) capabilities and tasks," said Italian Lt. Gen. Paolo Ruggiero, the NATO LANDCOM acting commander. "We do many things together. This is a good opportunity to get together and enhance our capabilities… and to get familiar with the important challenges of having our Soldiers quickly deployed and properly supplied."
One of the major capabilities the leaders became familiar with was the "European Activity Set." The leaders visited EAS locations in Romania and Italy.
The EAS consists of equipment -- aside from prepositioned stocks -- placed around the world to support regionally aligned forces and tailored to meet combatant commanders' needs in specific regions.
While visiting EAS Romania at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, the group learned about the track vehicles housed and maintained there. Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other systems are staged and ready to quickly support an armored battalion. They also learned about planned improvements at the base, including a new rail spur and ramp, new fuel tanks to increase the fueling capabilities, and a new customs and passenger terminal as well as improvements to the flight line.
"Logisticians need to be thinking about the right kind of infrastructure," Rear Adm. Lee Singleton, the EUCOM senior logistics officer, said of the improvements.
Leaders said they will use what they learned on the terrain walk to refine and analyze their processes to ensure war fighters are getting what they need and that forces have freedom of movement throughout Europe.