LONDON — The commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command accepted the chairmanship of the National Territorial Commanders’ Committee on behalf of the United States June 4 during the committee’s annual commanders’ conference in London.
Maj. Gen. John R. O’Con-nor, commander of the Kaisers-lautern, Germany based TSC since June 2013, ceremonially received the chairman’s bell from United Kingdom Royal Navy Commodore Andy Kyte, head of defense logistic operations and capability for the U.K.’s assistant chief of defense staff (logistic operations). This officially signified transfer of the chairmanship from the U.K. to the U.S.
“This type of informal body, making this significant of a difference, is absolutely essential,” O’Connor said. “I see it as our responsibility to take this new environment and understand how we as a collective body can adapt, change and network to do all the things it takes to move a company, a detachment, a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine quickly and responsively.”
O’Connor will preside as the NTCC chairman until the fourth week in June, when he relinquishes command of the 21st TSC to Maj. Gen. Duane A. Gamble. Gamble will subsequently serve as NTCC chairman.
The NTCC, established in 1986 by six allied nations, is a unified forum for logistical commanders to engage one another through host nation support to achieve the common goal of facilitation of rapid cross-border movements of personnel, cargo and equipment moving among the nations.
Now consisting of 24 nations, the NTCC aims to become the leading multinational military network for responsive host nation support.
“Host nation support and those associated with it have never been more critical to the collective security of our nations than it is today,” Kyte said.
Military representatives outside of the NTCC agree that host nation support is an essential element to successful operations throughout Europe.
“The global security environment is as challenging and complex as ever,” said U.K. Maj. Gen. Angus Fay, assistant chief of defense staff (logistic operations). “Just about everything we do requires us to work together. If we don’t work together we’re not going to achieve much at all. We couldn’t do anything without the support of our allies and partners.
“Host nation support is a critical facet of our operations and we in turn recognize the importance of providing support,” Fay continued. “This is why we are strong supporters of the NTCC — never more strongly than now because of the challenges we face particularly in Eastern Europe.”
In addition to the transfer of chairmanship, the London conference also included a detailed open forum discussion for commanders to address subjects such as wide base communication strategies, guidelines for host nation support capabilities, developing a best practices and lessons learned matrix, coordination and training with NATO headquarters, and the decision to allow two new nations to officially join as full members.
After an unanimous vote, the committee welcomed Latvia and Estonia to join its ranks. Representatives from both nations subsequently signed the memorandum of arrangement, officially making them members.
The conference ended with a traditional Royal Navy dinner at the London Naval Club, giving representatives from the more than 20 nations an opportunity to discuss partnership capabilities in a relaxed setting.
Among those present at the culminating dinner was U.K. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the vice chief of the defense staff who stressed the importance of the NTCC and logistical partnerships throughout Europe.
It is important for partner nations to continue to train and share best practices among each other, Peach said. Not only is it important to train, but it is also important to conduct exercises that incorporate real logistical training.
Prior to departing for the evening, Peach thanked the Romanian delegation for its work behind the scenes to ensure that the NTCC operated efficiently and the U.S. for accepting the reins as the committee’s new chair.
“I am confident that our world is in great hands,” O’Connor said. “Regardless of the threats that are out there, just listening to what we are undertaking in this new environment, I am absolutely confident that we are ready for it — whatever it is.”
For more information on the NTCC, visit the organizational website at https://wss.apan.org/s/NTCC.