U.S. European Command logisticians joined 120 of their NATO Ally and partner nation counterparts in Ulm, Germany, this week for Joint European Time-Phased Force Flow Deployment and Sustainment Series (JETS) 3.0, a wargaming exercise designed to rehearse large Allied unit movements in times of crisis.
Hosted by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe at the Joint Support and Enabling Command, the event included attendees from NATO Headquarters, USEUCOM, Joint Forces Command Brunssum, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, U.S. Transportation Command, and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency.
Participants spent four intensive days, from Nov. 14-17, wargaming the movement and sustainment of large Allied troops and supplies throughout Europe. The exercise, conducted as an oversized board game displaying maps from North America's East Coast to NATO's eastern flank and from the Arctic to the Mediterranean Sea, challenged the logisticians to overcome practical constraints that arise from moving large combat forces and their sustainment from west to east, south to north, and ultimately in directions spanning 360 degrees.
“Last year, the logisticians at this exercise proved just how capable, resilient and responsive our Alliance has become at sustaining deterrence operations,” said Rear Adm. Duke Heinz, USEUCOM logistics director.
“This year, with the (JSEC) at the helm, these logisticians once again have demonstrated NATO's ability to smoothly integrate and resolve multifaceted problems at scale and speed to counter hybrid, asymmetrical and conventional threats across the European Continent. Every time we conduct cooperative events such as these, the team clearly gets better, further fortifying our deterrence and defense capabilities across the Alliance's logistics enterprise,” he said.
In addition to Heinz, the event’s official host, German Army Lt. Gen. Alexander Sollfrank and 21st TSC, Commanding General U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James Smith were in attendance.
“JETS is great opportunity for NATO and all Allied elements to identify requirements and deconflict areas of friction in order to enable Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s area of responsibility,” Sollfrank explained. “Intense discussions and the mutual exchange of knowledge supports us at JSEC and all of NATO to further improve and strengthen partnerships and cooperation with partners, the basis for strong deterrence and defense.”
The event’s wargame is a continued effort of the logistics rehearsal of concept that was conducted in November 2021.
“It is an honor to stand alongside our Allies and partners and tackle real-world sustainment problems together,” Smith said. “We often talk about the importance (of) interoperability here in the European Theater, and this exercise (is) a true testament of its value and significance.”
“The U.S. military consistently exercises how we bring additional combat forces to Europe in case of crisis. Seeing our NATO Allies lead similar rehearsals to train on moving and sustaining forces has been truly impressive to witness,” Smith added. “This is what vigilance, deterrence and defense of the Euro-Atlantic Area looks like.”
Previous iterations of similar USEUCOM exercises have yielded insightful lessons learned that continue to inform military planning.
“While political challenges always exist in the movement and sustainment of allied military formations, these types of logistics-focused events force planners at the operational level to account for the movement and sustainment of forces in a contested environment,” Heinz said.
U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for U.S. military operations across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. USEUCOM is comprised of more than 64,000 military and civilian personnel and works closely with NATO Allies and partners. The command is one of two U.S. forward-deployed geographic combatant commands headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. For more information about USEUCOM, visit www.eucom.mil.