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NATO Conference Works to Improve Logistics Standardization

The Headquarters, Department of the Army (DA), Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4, Lieutenant General Mitchell H. Stevenson, hosted the 10th North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Combat Service Support Working Group (CSS WG) Conference from 10 to 13 May 2011 in Orlando, Florida. This was the first time that the conference was held in the United States.

Sixty delegates from 17 of the 28 NATO nations attended the conference and worked through the week to update and develop 14 NATO Standard Agreements (STANAGs). The conference completed the revision of NATO documents that are critical in supporting full-spectrum operations, future coalitions, and operations in the joint and multinational environment at large. Key accomplishments included final drafts of the NATO command in Afghanistan, convoy operations, and NATO retrograde doctrine.

The U.S. representation at the conference was led by the DA G–4 with support from the Army Combined Arms Support Command, the Army Materiel Command, and the Marine Corps. The Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4 (Operations), Major General Robert M. Radin, opened the conference by emphasizing the need to build partnerships within NATO. He underscored the importance of the NATO alliance in supporting over 50,000 European troops in Afghanistan as opposed to roughly 18,000 a few years ago.

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Major General Robert M. Radin, the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4 (Operations), and the delegates to the 10th NATO Combat Service Support Working Group Conference in Orlando, Florida.


Combat Service Support Working Group

The CSS WG is one of nine working groups under the Land Standardization Board of the NATO Standardization Agency. The CSS WG is responsible for developing logistics doctrine and procedures for all NATO land operations.

The 28 member nations of NATO alternate the responsibility of hosting the CSS WG conference, which is held twice a year in May and October. The conference focuses on initiating and developing standardization in CSS doctrine and procedures.

Working Group Panels

Supporting the CSS WG are four panels: Supply, Movement and Transportation, Battlefield Maintenance, and Information Exchange Requirement (IER). The goal of each panel is to ensure that each STANAG enhances interoperability.

With a different task at hand for each panel, delegates worked throughout the week to achieve significant results. The Supply Panel assessed NATO supply STANAGs and interoperability and had the opportunity to exchange information and discuss issues.

The Movement and Transportation Panel reviewed NATO STANAGs and examined and evaluated procedures pertaining to movements across national frontiers, technical aspects of the transport of military materials by railroad, and multimodal movement and transport. All revisions resulting from the panel's work will influence NATO distribution and support operations and link NATO and U.S. standards for multimodal transportation.

The Battlefield Maintenance Panel worked on standardizing maintenance organizations, operations, and repair parts systems at the tactical and technical levels (division level and below) to improve the effectiveness of NATO forces. The panel's focus was on restructuring STANAG 2399, Battlefield Recovery/Evacuation Operations, to reflect current processes for recovery operations.

The IER Panel developed, harmonized, and validated IER proposals in support of operational requirements to improve the effectiveness of NATO forces. Revisions and refinements of IER documents were made to remove all terminology references that were no longer valid. The IER Panel chairman highlighted a requirement to investigate and understand the various national deployable CSS communication and information systems in use across NATO nations. The ultimate aim was to enhance the interoperability of international CSS communication and information systems across NATO nations.

The next CSS WG Conference will take place in Bratislava, Slovakia, from 17 to 21 October 2011. Before then, all necessary STANAGs will be sent to member countries for ratification.

George "Skip" Williams is the chief of the Joint, Interagency and Multinational Branch, Strategy and Integration Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4, Headquarters, Department of the Army. He holds a B.A. degree from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and a M.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma. He is a retired Army logistician with 26 years of service.

Adrienne E. Faessler is an analyst for Quantum Research International in the Joint, Interagency and Multinational Branch, Deputy Chief of Staff, G–4, Headquarters, Department of the Army. She holds a B.A. degree in international studies from Southern Methodist University and minor degrees in cultural anthropology and German.

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