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BALTOPS 2012: hosting first multi-national logistics center.

In its 40th iteration, this summer's multi-national exercise, Baltic Operation (BALTOPS) 2012 orchestrated about 1,800 Sailors and Marines from 12 different countries, 30 aircraft and 27 ships. It also hosted the first Multi-National Logistics Center (MNLC), which provided a training opportunity for combined logistics planning and coordination among 10 nations.

The MNLC was assembled to improve interoperability among participating nations by providing an opportunity for a multi-national planning element to build a logistics plan capable of sustaining theatre forces throughout deployment, operations and redeployment. This objective allowed host nations, component commands, and subordinate units to energize the long-term supply-demand request system, and the worldwide resource and communication networks necessary to plan for operations requiring 90 days of resourcing.

"The combined logistics center was a key component to enhancing flexibility for theatre forces to adapt to command and control requirements which adjust as the environment changes or a scenario unfolds," said Cmdr. Maurice Meagher, Assistant Chief of Staff, Logistics for Expeditionary Strike Group TWO (ESG2). "The center proved critical in providing inter-operability and collaboration assets among regional allies, ensuring the fulfillment of fundamental goals laid out prior to the exercise."

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Italian Commanders Vittorio Tossicci and Marcello Pastore led preparations and developments of the MNLC from Strike Force NATO, in coordination with Cmdr. Maurice Meagher and Maj. Jason Hernandez from ESG2. Sixth Fleet officers Cmdr. Jim Semarad, Lt. Cmdr. Glenn Wright, Lt. Nelson Apara, and Lt.j.g. Jarrett Aldrich joined the team during the execution phase of BALTOPS 2012. Sixth Fleet will assume primary coordination during next year's BALTOPS iteration. In addition, USS Mount Whitney's (LCC 20) staff ensured lateral communications with the MNLC, Maritime Component Commander, and the Land Component Commander as well as reach back capability with experts from their nations.

Personnel from 10 different countries, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey and the United States, participated in the MNLC.

"Throughout the exercise, MNLC logisticians were engaged with their counterparts from other functional areas across the Joint Task Force," Maj. Hernandez said. "This ensured full knowledge of the scenario and the support requirements."

Unification amongst the participants of BALTOPS 2012 proved to be an instrumental asset, furthermore strengthening the already strong relationship held amongst the participating countries. "It was a great experience to work onboard a ship with colleagues from other nations to develop a consolidated product," explained Turkish Major Bilgehan Bulbul, Strikes Forces NATO.

"It has always been one of my desires to be aboard a U.S. Navy ship," said Polish Navy officer, Lt. Cmdr. Amadeus Tomaszewski. "This was a great opportunity to work in an international environment and improve my knowledge on logistics issues."

In general, the logistics system is not tested or evaluated to this extent during naval exercises because the shorter, two-week duration of the exercises does not require oversight of the self-sustaining units and host countries that are well-practiced in providing theatre force resources for this duration. "Logistics training is normally overlooked," Cmdr. Tossicci said. "This exercise offered the MNLC an opportunity to conduct logistics planning similar to a real world operation."

Focusing on the logistics of the operation allows participants the opportunity to further logistical skills and knowledge. "As a ground logistician, it was a great experience to work in a joint multinational environment and experience the number of new ideas and the fresh approaches of different people," said Estonian Lt. Magnus-Valdemar Saar.

As one of the largest multinational maritime exercise taking place in the region this year, BALTOPS was designed to promote regional cooperation, and foster multinational interoperability to train for joint combat operations to defense against regional and transnational threats.

By Lt. j.g. Theresa James

From Expeditionary Strike Group Two Public Affairs
COPYRIGHT 2012 U.S. Department of the Navy, Supply Systems Command
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Title Annotation:Around the Field and Fleet
Author:James, Theresa
Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Date:Sep 1, 2012
Words:619
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