More than 80 leaders from 14 European countries met to discuss strengthening reciprocal fuel support during Defense Logistics Agency Energy Europe & Africa Fuels Exchange Agreements Forum in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Sept. 19-21.
For the 18th year, international partners met to learn more about the DLA Energy International Fuel Agreements program and explore increased partnership opportunities.
“The relationships we have built consistently show the world that we can stand united while supporting one another. This is especially true during the turbulent times being experienced in the ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe and on the African continent,” DLA Energy Commander Navy Capt. Brian Anderson said during his opening remarks. “Together, we continue to improve and grow this forum through the interchange of open discussion. We all have a lot to learn from each other.”
What started in 2005 with 34 representatives from eight countries talking about fuel support has grown to 80 representatives from 14 countries spending almost a week together networking, discussing capabilities and exploring enhanced interoperability. Representatives were from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Albania, Georgia, and NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
For first-time attendees like Albania and Georgia, the forum provided an opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the U.S. fuel exchange agreements program. These agreements, which provide cross-servicing capabilities between partner nations and coalition forces worldwide, help manage fuel costs and optimize the supply chain.
“When a host nation partner with a DLA Energy international fuel agreement receives DLA Energy-owned fuel, the host nation partner pays the standard price DLA Energy charges U.S. military forces,” said Gerald R. Candelaria, DLA Energy Europe & Africa International Agreements chief.
As of July, DLA Energy has 40 fuel agreements with 23 countries around the world. Its International Fuel Agreements team synchronizes with regional DLA Energy offices to establish and maintain these long-term Defense Department fuel agreements with foreign militaries.
Lt. Col. Giorgi Maisuradze of the Georgian Defense Forces said the forum helped him better understand the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreements process. ACSAs are the formal mechanisms that allow the DOD to acquire, and in some cases to provide, logistics support, supplies, and services directly with eligible countries and international organizations.
“It’s a very good event especially because we are conducting a lot of different exercises and activities with U.S. forces in Georgia,” he said. “This forum is really great for improving understanding of how the system works, especially ACSA and ACSA orders, and to eliminate some of the deficiencies we have in the process and better understand the procedures.”
Capt. Lampros Lampropoulos of the Hellenic Navy General Staff in Greece said the benefits are mutually beneficial.
“The collaboration between DLA and the Hellenic Navy is useful for both parties,” he said. “We are looking forward to improving future engagement.”
Maisuradze found value in meeting his counterparts in person.
“This conference has been great for sharing information and knowledge of other people, who is doing what,” he said. “This is perfect ground for finding people you’ve only met by email and to discuss issues face to face.”
Albania General Staff Lt. Col. Oliverta Dulo agreed.
“Through DLA, we have the opportunity to have fuel access for our troops when they go abroad for training exercises or other cases,” she said. “Now that I’ve been here, I now know the right process to follow and the right person to contact for help.”
Candelaria said his team works hard to maintain strong partnerships across Europe and help DLA Energy’s international partners understand the ASCA process and its benefits to all that participate.
“These fuel agreements are essential elements for U.S warfighters and partner nations not only during routine and emerging operations but in supporting international exercises around the world,” he said. “They help build supply chain efficiency, enhance interoperability with participating foreign militaries, and strengthen long-term collaboration with our partner nations.”
During the week, Italian, Spanish and British partners briefed participants on their fuel programs and experts discussed the Central Europe Pipeline System, Spanish Pipeline System, Turkish Pipeline Facility and Italian Pipeline. A DLA Finance team was also on site to explain invoicing and financial settlements.
“This forum provides a great opportunity to enhance partnerships, discuss worldwide capabilities and explore potential reciprocal fuel support, as well as a chance to reconcile fuel accounts between allies and partners,” said Army Lt. Col. Leslie Shipp, DLA Energy Europe & Africa commander.
DLA Energy Finance personnel presented a briefing, met one-on-one with international counterparts, and signed settlements totaling $80.4 million providing reimbursement to the Department of Defense Working Capital Fund.
Carl Petermann, a fuels management analyst for the U.S. European Command Joint Petroleum Office in Stuttgart, Germany, said the event was one of the best events he’s attended.
“Well done to the DLA Energy Europe & Africa team for putting on a first-class event,” he said. “I've been to a lot of conferences, forums and meetings over the years. However, I don't ever recall one being executed so well.”
The next forum is being planned for Sept. 17-19, 2024.