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Oct 5 2020

AFCEA Europe Conference: Shining a Light on the Joint Support and Enabling Command

On 29 and 30 September AFCEA Europe organized a conference devoted to the Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC). The event was hosted by General (retired) Erich Staudacher and held online.  

The conference brought together high ranking speakers from NATO, the U.S. Army in Europe, the European Union (EU), academia and the private sector. The first day focused on the international strategic context, JSEC’s contribution to NATO deterrence and defence, the importance of cyber security and how the opportunities provided by the digital transformation could be further harnessed. The second day discussed the role of military mobility and enablement, and the EU’s contribution to facilitating cross-border military movement. The results of the online discussions showed the need for a central authority responsible for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s (SACEUR) Rear Area.

Strategy and the Rear Area

The strategic pretext was introduced by several keynote presentations. Major General Jörg See from NATO’s International Military Staff in Brussels and Rear Admiral Jürgen Ehle from the EU’s External Action Service underlined the importance of the rear area and the military mobility project in Europe. These keynotes were followed by a panel discussion on the rear area’s contribution to deterrence. 
Lieutenant General (retired) Ben Hodges (upper, left) moderates a virtual discussion.

General (retired) Jan Broeks moderated this debate, which included reputed Dutch and Polish experts on international affairs. Colonel James Phillips, the JSEC Director of Operations, presented the military perspective.

Colonel James Phillips, JSEC Director of Operations

Military Mobility

On the second day, General (retired) Ben Hodges, a prominent advocate of military mobility and JSEC, chaired the panel on enablement. Brigadier Duncan Bedding, the Commander of NATO’s Standing Joint Logistics Support Group (SJLSG), based in Ulm, and the Director of the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE), Group Captain Stuart Gregory, joined the discussion on NATO’s Needs and Requirements. Colonel Pawel Kwarto, the Assistant Chief of Staff J4, represented JSEC.

Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe (l.) thanks the host, General (retired) Erich Staudacher (r.), for the AFCEA Europe conference.
Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, the JSEC Commander, reiterated in his closing keynote JSEC’s core mission of ensuring a secure and enabled assigned area. The conference brought together an impressive selection of high-level decision-makers and experts. They emphasized the importance of JSEC’s mission in the current international context. Their keynotes and panel discussions generated many original insights and suggestions. As a new organization for a new set of challenges, JSEC can only innovate if it is open to novel ideas and cutting-edge technology. This conference – held by VTC and without a glitch – has certainly contributed to this effort.

Knowledge Hub

The panelists shared valuable insights, including how JSEC is part of a large, complex ecosystem of NATO Headquarters and private companies who work, plan and communicate in very different ways than the military do. From a logistic perspective, it is not just about utilizing limited capacity to move troops and material, but equally how to coordinate this. As such, the panelists saw JSEC developing into a knowledge hub, as a central node in an international public-private supply network. Their comments and statements supported the unique role of JSEC in NATO’s command structure.

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command Public Affairs Office

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