Split, Croatia — The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s deputy commanding general and host nation section participated in the annual National Territorial Commanders Committee Conference with member nations and observer members here from June 13-15.
The annual NTCC conference is a forum for senior logistics leaders and staff to improve host nation support by sharing lessons learned over the last year, and proposing new solutions to the sustainment enterprise in Europe.
This year’s conference was important because of current events on the European continent, and this is the first time the conference has met in two years due to COVID 19. After the conference, 7th Mission Support Command, commanding general, and 21st Theater Sustainment Command deputy commanding general, Brig. Gen. Wanda Williams was thrilled to network with key leaders within the logistics field.
“I’m thrilled to be here and build relationships with partners in the logistics community. The support provided by host nations is incredibly important to how the 21st TSC provides RSOM [Receptions, Staging, and Onward Movement] and sustained logistics support to U.S. and partner forces,” said Williams. “Forums like the NTCC are critical for the 21st TSC. Gathering as partners to address shortfalls, discuss lessons learned over the years and find a way ahead is paramount to the growth and development of the logistics enterprise in Europe.”
The message of this year’s conference was clear; preparing the theater by building redundancies, modernizing infrastructure, and rethinking how to conduct logistics operations from factory to foxhole through partnerships.
“New security challenges in Europe have triggered new strategic decisions at the national and global level. In such demanding circumstances, logistics, as a quiet and invisible support to forces, needs to be faster and more efficient than ever,” said Rear Adm. Milan Žunic, Croatian Armed Forces J-4 and NTCC Chairman. “I believe this conference is a good opportunity to meet, discuss and exchange ideas on issues regarding logistics capabilities and improvements of multinational solutions for logistics support to our forces in operations and exercises.”
Of the seven presentations and discussions that followed, three stood out when addressing challenges and solutions to logistics in the theater. The United Kingdom talked about modernizing how host nations coordinate support, and gave recommendations on how to prevent problems with version control when sharing planning documents. The French shared how their relationships made through the NTCC were critical to accomplishing a military movement within 48 hours. They also shared their thoughts on how NATO could better coordinate and share resources in times of crisis. The SHAPE ACOS J4, Brig. Gen. Carla Harding, gave one of the most thought-provoking presentations. Her briefing made two clear points; the COVID pandemic forced logistics planners to acknowledge the growing complexities of global logistics, and logisticians have an even greater responsibility to inform and advise commanders how to navigate said complexities. Before the group discussion, Harding concluded her presentation explaining how logistical resilience, both civilian and military, is a key element of enablement.
“Today is too late for logistics,” said Harding. “If your logistics is not in place in peace time, it will not be available in crisis and conflict.”
The conference concluded with the induction of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a new member nation and the Joint Support Enabling Command as an observer organization. The NTCC chairman handed his responsibilities to the next nation representative and made his closing remarks.
The next time the NTCC members will meet is the steering committee in October. The NTCC steering committee meets twice a year and is where the host nation support action officers meet to revisit issues of mutual military interests, and ways to improve interoperability.
For more information on the NTCC and the support they provide please visit their website at https://wss.apan.org/s/NTCC/default.aspx.