News: Eleven countries participate in logistics conference
Story by Cpl. Joshua Grant
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - The United States and European nations alike face declining defense budgets and evolving strategic challenges. They will now more than ever need to rely on each other for assistance.
Recently, eleven nations participated in a logistics conference hosted in Ljubljana, Slovenia to discuss and learn about the roles and methods of each country's logistics practices.
“Previously, these conferences focused on wartime movement and logistics, but we noticed what these countries are involved in and are now shifting our emphasis,” said Maj. Chris Keady, logistics planner of Eastern Europe for Marine Forces Europe and Africa. “This is one of the great opportunities for education and interaction between not only the Marine Corps and the host nation Slovenia, but all of the countries who attended. There is always a call for international cooperation, even during a peacetime and times of crisis.”
Logistic command structure was a large talking point as the countries were able to discuss ideas that worked for them and share it with the group.
“We wanted each country to share their style and structure because a country with 2,000 soldiers operates differently than one with 200,000 armed forces,” said Keady. “We also tied in the need for non-military logistics planning with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief discussions.”
The more than 30 attendees were divided into groups and given historical natural disaster situations. They were then tasked to work together and formulate an action report.
Slovenian Armed Forces Maj. Robert Slak, the deputy commander for the logistics regiment, said it was a tremendous experience to be able to host a conference with such great countries from the West and Eastern Europe.
“This not only strengthens our political bonds, but helps the soldiers on the ground,” said Slak. “If a natural disaster hits or even a military operation, it’s good to already know your counterpart so you can organize and execute the plan easily.”
“Every year, there are logistic exercises, but for me, it is not enough,” said Slak. “We have to do more with interoperability of equipment as well as tactics and procedures, and this conference adds just that. It was great for us to be able to host the Marine who provided classes and all of the other countries who attended; we hope to attend many more of these conferences in the future.”
Planned bilateral and multilateral exercises and engagements are scheduled throughout the U.S. European Command area-of-responsibility for Marine Forces Europe and Africa and partner nations to strengthen and improve interoperability and work together towards mutual goals.