After landing in Podgorica, Montenegro, last week for the LOGEX 13 Main Planning Conference I quickly realized the urgency of the Montenegrin government's request for assistance due to the large amounts of snow in the southern portion of the country. On the way to the airport it was hard not to notice the bent and broken trees that lined the road; the pieces of overhang that were bent or broken on the roofs of houses and buildings; the caved in roofs; and of course the piles and piles of snow along the roads and in the parking lots.
It is important to know that Montenegro does not have a Director of Logistics in their Ministry of Defense -- all logistics support is handled at the company level. This system is advantageous because tasks can be organized and executed very quickly, while a disadvantage is that it is difficult to manage several logistical units to accomplish a large task.
Colonel Rifet Kosavac, the Montenegro Deputy Minister whith whom we met before the start of the conference, was very grateful for the support that is being provided by Belgium, Greece and the United States. He mentioned specifically the two helicopters and crews provided. He went on to say it is difficult to prepare for a situation like this because they typically don’t see the amount of snow they recently received in a normal winter -- he called it a fifty year storm.
Colonel Kosavac stressed that they are working to increase the number of English speaking officers, purchasing weapons and equipment that meet NATO standards, and working to incorporate what they are learning at the LOGEX workshops into the daily job.
For this, the second of five scheduled LOGEX workshops, we drove to a training center in Danilovgrad, Montenegro, to meet with 17 Montenegro military personnel and observers from Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Serbia. The objectives of the workshop:
- train logistical staff officers,
- increase familiarity of logistics staff officers with use of NATO procedures for logistics planning and implementation,
- increase cooperation and coordination among logistics staff officers for future combined operations,
- assess logistics support requirements,
- practice NATO reporting procedures, and
- using NATO logistics C4 systems such as LOGFAS.
In the end, Montenegro developed a Detailed Deployment Plan (DDP), equivalent to the Time Phase Force Deployment Data (TPFDD).
The week’s worth of training was vital to ensure a successful exercise in February. During the week participants were introduced to NATO/National Security Element (NSE) guidelines, the NATO Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF), Deployed Contracting, Acquisition Cross Service Agreements (ACSA), NATO Contracting, NAMSA and participated in five breakout sessions to develop and build their National DDP to use during execution. The Main Planning Conference (MPC) was held at the same location and overlapped with three days of the workshop. Colonel Mirsad Pajevic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina; Colonel Rifet Kosovac, the Montenegro Deputy Minister; and ten other representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Macedonia, Serbia, Sweden, and United Kingdom attended the MPC. These attndees reviewed and finalized the the draft Exercise Specification (EXSPEC) was review and finalized. Due to increased interest, they decided Medical Logistics and Engineering will be added to the scheduled workshops and the concepts and procedures will be intriduced in the last LOGEX 13 in October.
In all, the participants of the workshop gained a better understanding of how Deployed Contracting and RSOM occur during NATO operations and they learned how to build their National DDP. The participants of the MPC finalized the Exercise Specification (EXSPEC) and worked to add two additional functional areas to the workshop. As I observed the interactions of the country reps in action, I felt pride in the accomplishments these countries are achieving with their participation in LOGEX.
The ultimate goal for the Partnerhsip for Peace country participants in LOGEX is NATO membership. It’s a long road and a lot of work for them, but major progress is being made. In the end I look forward to see the culmination of all their hard work when they participate in the two week exercise in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Maj. Todd J. Morin, U.S. Air Force
Logistics Support Division
Multinational Exercise Cell Chief