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MIKKELI, Finland—Army Command Finland hosted logisticians and planners from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa during a Land Forces Partnership Working Group at Karkialampi Army Base in March, to strengthen relationships and chart a path toward improved interoperability.

Maj. Ramon Cabrera, 21st TSC Theater Movements Center, said the working group established important personal connections, identified opportunities for increased cooperation and developed actionable next steps.

“Coming together in a forum like this is important because even though we are two different countries, when it comes to logistics, we want to make sure we speak the same language,” said Cabrera. “We are building a common understanding about logistics needs to ensure we can fulfill the operational objectives of our bilateral cooperation.”

Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command Chief of Operations, Col. Mika Multanen, regarded the working group as a positive step in reaffirming the relationship between commands. “I think this has been very successful,” said Multanen. “I’ve seen and met people I’ve wanted to meet for months.”

Multanen said a shared understanding of procedures helps identify the best way forward to ensure effective cooperation.

“The most important [objective] was that we open those lines of communication,” said Multanen. He added that meeting in person strengthens mutual understanding. “If you are just conducting [business] with emails, it’s not a personal way to conduct [business],” he said. “When we see each other, we understand each other better. If we are not talking just about…business, but we are talking also about other things, it makes us closer. It is a more human way to act.”

Cabrera agreed that meeting face to face and working with Finnish Soldiers and members of the Finnish Defence Forces was professionally and personally rewarding, and directly supports 21st TSC’s mission in the European Theater.

“We are building those interpersonal networks and shared understanding that will help us rapidly and efficiently RSOM (reception, staging and onward movement) in Finland and the Baltic region as a whole.”

21st Theater Sustainment Command is U.S. Army Europe and Africa's lead organization for all sustainment activities including logistics support, transportation, combat sustainment, human resources, finance, contracting and all other areas in the field of sustainment.