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 Aug 10 2022

10 Thoughts About the Joint Support and Enabling Command - After my First 100 Days

Ulm, Germany – On a rainy Tuesday in March this year, Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank took over as the new Commander of the Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) in a grand ceremony at the historic Wilhelmsburg Barracks. When asked about his impressions about JSEC and its tasks after the first hundred days in his new office, here are his thoughts:

1. We are a full-scale NATO command headquarters.

We coordinate NATO troop movements across the alliance in all possible directions, enabling the reinforcement by forces and the sustainment of NATO troops in a faster, smoother and more efficient way. Shortly said, the right troops with the right status in the right order at the right place at the right time.

2. We provide a great benefit for the Alliance.

We provide the Alliance and its nations with a coordination hub to optimize efforts related to enablement, reinforcement and sustainment. Thus, we contribute to the Alliance's deterrence and defence, aiming at efficiency and timelines of activities and actions.

3. We are establishing a network all across Europe.

Our mission is to operationalize a multi-domain Reinforcement and Sustainment Network in the Supreme Allied Commander's Area of Responsibility, in order to facilitate the enablement of the Euro-Atlantic area and therewith its reinforcement by forces and their sustainment with a 360-degree approach. The network includes all relevant stakeholders concerned with civil and military personnel, as well as infrastructure and systems supporting the flow of forces and material. Geographically, it spans from the east coast of North America to Europe and the southern rim of the Mediterranean Sea.

4. Our tasks are constantly evolving.

We continuously adapt our mission in an evolutionary process, in order to contribute to an enabled Euro-Atlantic area more efficiently, always in concert with the other NATO commands. For example, by fusing the existing competencies of JSEC and the collocated Standing Joint Logistics Support Group into one single entity, we already see a more efficient enablement for a fast and effective reinforcement and sustainment. We never stand still. We keep on moving. The fight versus the red tape never ends.

5. We provide an in-deep overview.

Within the NATO structure, we collect information from all allies to create an overview of all land, sea, and air hubs and ports, connecting the routes needed to move large troop equivalents and their supplies over larger distances. We provide NATO commanders and nations with this in-deep overview and advise them on their planned movements. We also develop plans and support exercises on movements, but we do not plan or execute the movements itself. We have a coordinating authority. Of course, we will continue maintaining and expanding our network within the military community as well as between NATO nations, contributing to the Alliance's cohesion.

6. We are capable and prepared.

By having the Reinforcement and Sustainment Network established in peacetime already, we are well prepared and capable of enabling Supreme Allied Commander's Area of Responsibility in crisis and conflict. Meanwhile, we are also executing the role of the logistics domain advisor for the SACEUR in order to provide him with all relevant information in this functional area and to enable him to take the right strategic level decisions. By efficiently fulfilling our mission, we enhance effectiveness within NATO and contribute to the Alliance's readiness and credibility.

7. Concerning Russia's war in the Ukraine, the Alliance is strong and determined.

According to NATO's Secretary General Stoltenberg, NATO has two fundamental tasks when it comes to Russia's brutal aggression against Ukraine. One is to bring support to Ukraine, and the second is to prevent an escalation of the conflict beyond Ukraine. For the first time in the Alliance's history, the NATO Response Force was deployed in a collective defence context. These measures are non-escalatory and taken to reinforce our NATO eastern flank allies. In addition, leaders of NATO member states approved a Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine at their recent Summit in Madrid.

8. Our presence as a NATO HQ in Ulm increases the security for the region.

The very existence of the JSEC contributes to a more credible deterrence to potential adversaries, minimizing the risk of an armed attack on the entire NATO territory where every inch will be defended.

9. The Ulm garrison and its surrounding are a place worth living.

Ulm is a very vivid and colorful place to live. The university, the Science City, and a booming economy always attracted many people to this area. In Ulm, internationality has many faces, people from more than 140 different nations live here, contributing to an incredibly diverse cultural scene.

In addition to the highest church steeple in the world, visitors are also attracted by the old town, where a concentrated sequel of small lanes, tiny bridges and plazas, an abundance of half timbering and an endless selection of quaint guesthouses and cafes awaits them in the fishermen's quarter.

10. Being JSEC Commander is a challenging, yet rewarding task.

Established in 2018, JSEC is a relatively young command. We touch new terrain in all aspects on a daily basis and cut a lot of red tape. There are no given textbook solutions. We have to write our own textbook for the very first time. Creating something new always has attracted me and I find it very enticing to be able to work with a team of professional, creative men and women who are keen on pushing things forward and who dare to act. Their attitude is impressive but also indispensable during these challenging times.

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command

Lieutenant General Sollfrank 1
Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank is the commander of the Joint Support and Enabling Command in Ulm, Germany. Born December 7, 1966, he joined the German Army by being commissioned into Armoured Infantry Battalion 112 in 1986.
Lieutenant General Sollfrank CoC1
Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank assumed command of the Joint Support and Enabling Command March 17, 2022. The coat of arms was handed over by Admiral Joachim Rühle, Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
Lieutenant General Sollfrank Office1
Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank behind his office desk. He finds it very enticing to be able to work with a team of professional, creative men and women who are keen on pushing things forward and who dare to act.
Lieutenant General Sollfrank International2
Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank enjoys working in an international environment. Many visitors from all over the world are interested in the new NATO command and its tasks.
Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank joins the NATO Commanders Conference, presided by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher G. Cavoli.

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