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    21st TSC Host Nation Support Looks Back to Move Forward

    21st TSC Host Nation Support Looks Back to Move Forward

    Photo By Eleanor Prohaska | Nearly 40 host nation support professionals representing 15 nations attended the...... read more read more



    Story by Eleanor Prohaska 

    21st Theater Sustainment Command

    The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Host Nation Support hosted nearly 40 host nation support professionals at the National Territorial Commanders Committee in Deidesheim, Germany October 4-6, 2021, to solidify relationships critical to military readiness in the European theater. The Committee welcomed new participants and old acquaintances reconnected as they received updates on U.S. host nation support policy and other briefs, and shared initiatives to improve international planning, coordination and execution within the European theater.

    Military officers, logisticians and liaisons from half of the 30 committee member nations attended, including Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Croatia, Estonia, United Kingdom, Romania, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and Germany. Observers from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, the NATO School Oberammergau, and candidate observer NATO’s Joint Support Enabling Service joined the group in discussing issues of mutual military interests and ways to improve interoperability.

    21st TSC Commanding General Maj. Gen. James Smith, commended the committee for “getting after business,” acknowledging the scope and importance of host nation support to U.S. military operations.

    “I served in Europe well over 20 years ago as a young captain and my perspective back then was very tactical,” Smith said to the group during the welcome reception. “I sure wasn’t worried about moving assets and commodities all across the European theater. But now that I’m back and I see the breadth of deployment and sustainment activity in Europe…..all of that activity cannot occur without the synchronization and the integration of this body right here and who you represent from your respective countries.”

    NTCC members usually meet in some form at least three times a year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this was their first meeting in more than 18 months. The meeting theme was “Looking Back and Moving Forward”.
    “Personally, I can relate to the motto because I never, as the 21st TSC Commander, miss an opportunity to look back and reflect upon past events and how those events will inform us going forward. I think that motto is absolutely fitting for what we are about to work on,” said Smith.

    He said he looked forward to the Committee addressing issues including in-transit visibility, interoperability and increasing its own footprint.
    In transit-visibility helps us "see ourselves" and maximize assets, which are sometimes limited, according to Smith. “How can we really achieve in-transit visibility from a collective perspective?” he asked. “Not from an individual country perspective, not from a U.S. perspective, but from a collective perspective.”

    Achieving synergy from an interoperable perspective is another priority, according to Smith.

    “Every country has assets and resources they will bring to bear…, as we look at plans, as we look at exercises, how do we come together as an organization and figure out the best ports to use based upon your respective countries? What are the best rail lines? What are the best transportation companies to use from a host nation perspective? How do we see each other and see what is inside of each other’s countries so we can come together and formulate a larger plan?”

    Smith encouraged the Committee to build on its accomplishments since forming in 1986 and consider how it can grow its network of relationships critical to international cooperation.

    “As we expand across the European theater, who’s missing?” Smith asked. “Where are our blind spots? Take a look at what’s missing, who’s missing, who do we need to bring in to the fold?”

    Capt. Katie McDougall, 21st TSC Host Nation Support, said building those networks and personal relationships are key. She found the opportunity to meet people from the countries she will be working with invaluable.

    “You get a lot more accomplished if you are sitting down with someone face to face and working through issues together, especially with some of the things that we work with,” she said. She recalled planning convoys with Hungarian Lt. Col. Csaba Holman. “We were able to modify something for Defender 21, for example, just based on his knowledge and our relationship with him.”

    According to Holman, the original plan was to have two convoy support centers in Hungary. “It proved to be an issue back in ’19 when most of the troops were going back to Romania and Bulgaria through Hungary,” he explained. “The convoys, on paper it looked good, but in reality the convoys never reached the second convoy center in the southeast. They were held up in the Vienna traffic. With that experience, the convoy support center we placed in the northwestern part of the country, Gyor, became the only one.”

    “It worked really well,” said McDougall.

    Holman said being able to work in such a collaborative and timely fashion requires sustained relations with all partners.

    “Movement control is one respect, and the civilians are very important as well, but now we [Hungary] are building relations with rotating movement control battalions and our national movement coordination center so they have regular visits to NTCC, and that helps to understand each other better.” He said maintaining those multiple contacts can be challenging, so having a consistent presence such as 21st TSC HNS Officer in Charge John Kizler, who has been in his post for the past decade, helps.

    Kizler has seen dramatic changes in host nation shortfalls and capabilities over the years. “We have eight rotations going on per year, and exercises, so we have a steady demand signal on these countries,” said Kizler. “When I first got here, we were using four ports—Netherlands, the U.K., Belgium and Germany. Now we are at 14. That’s a significant change in 10 years. Our steady state host nation support countries have grown in those ten years from eight to 18.”

    He said the NTCC meetings update members on where the U.S. stands on host nation support policy and procedures. Briefings also allow countries to share initiatives to improve planning coordination and execution.

    Lt. Col. Chris Schumacher, Chief G3 of the Army’s Territorial Operations Center for the Netherlands, said the NTCC meetings are important venues for ministerial personnel, operational planners and HNS executioners.

    “Those who solve problems are part of this steering committee,” said Schumacher. “So when two countries, one is sending and the other one is hosting…..those two people should be in close contact to solve problems if any arise, even after planning or during the execution.”

    He added that members discuss politics and national insights on topics such as COVID-19, to ensure host nations are “on the same page of music”.
    “If we don’t see face to face on certain subjects then we can never tell our people to go to a country with a certain concept in mind,” said Schumacher. “When do we make an MOU? When do we use TA [technical arrangement]?

    “Therefore, these discussions are really good. A country encounters a problem and it involves other countries to give him advice. And perhaps I have experience on that fact, so I can help. If I don’t have it, I learn something.”

    Schumacher said even allied countries have diverse operational protocols and priorities and the NTCC is a necessary forum to help them realize a common goal.

    “Even Belgium and us [Netherlands]—we are so much alike on so many levels—except for several things,” he said tongue in cheek.
    “We need to sort that out. Everybody will work in a different way. We are all military but still, Belgium, the Dutch, the Germans, even the British, they operate in another way and we need to have forums like this one to have those differences identified and see how to mitigate those and see how we can get all our procedures in sync with each other. And that will always be our biggest challenge.”

    The NTCC now has the 2021 meeting to look back to as it meets that challenge and moves forward.



    Date Taken: 10.14.2021
    Date Posted: 10.17.2021 18:07
    Story ID: 407206
    Location: DEIDESHEIM, DE 

    Web Views: 1,348
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