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Jan 9 2023

One for All and All for One – Senior National Representatives Share Their Tasks and Challenges at the Joint Support and Enabling Command

ULM, Germany - The Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) combines nearly three hundred military and civilian personnel from 25 countries. The military headquarters benefits from their experiences, cultural diversities and military backgrounds. In order to accomplish interoperability between these nations, so that they work together coherently, effectively and efficiently, each nation in the Wilhelmsburg Barracks is represented by a Senior National Representative (SNR).

Four of them, representing the United States of America, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Belgium, share a little bit about their secondary function at JSEC and its challenges.

Communication and interaction of the nations are the vital instruments on how to reach JSEC’s goals
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Joint Support and Enabling Command’s Senior National Representatives take care of the administrative and social wellbeing of the represented nation’s military community and also represent the contact for the command’s leadership in all questions concerning typical national matters (Photo: OR-4 Gina Seegert)
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Colonel Paul de Ruiter, Assistant Chief of Staff of the Civil Military Interaction Division and Dutch Senior National Representative, is responsible for the Dutch military community in all of Southern Germany 
(Photo: OR-8 Alexander Angerbauer)

Colonel Paul de Ruiter, Assistant Chief of Staff of JSEC’s Civil Military Interaction Division and Dutch SNR, describes that “a main task of an SNR is to take care of the administrative and social wellbeing of the represented nation’s military community in Ulm or even beyond.” De Ruiter represents the Dutch military community in all of Southern Germany with its locations in Ulm, Stuttgart, Ingolstadt and Pfullendorf.

Besides taking care of personnel and their families, the SNRs also “represents the senior officer of his nation working at JSEC and is therefore consulted by the JSEC leadership on typical national matters and positions. If delegated, the SNR also participates at the Senior Policy and Resources Committee Meetings and Post Allocation Conferences (link to article published in November 22) on behalf of his nation,” explaines Lieutenant Colonel Antoon Philippe, Branch Head Civil Military Liaison and Belgian SNR.

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Lieutenant Colonel Antoon Philippe, Branch Head Civil Military Liaison and Belgian Senior National Representative, emphasizes the importance of the close cooperation between the Representatives 
(Photo: OR-4 Gina Seegert)

“As an SNR you are the Senior Representative for your country. You may need to attend to things as small as ensure a family knows where to take a child to the doctor or advising the Commander on which strategy statement to make to a United States Flag Officer,” illustrates Colonel Phillip Borders, Assistant Chief of Staff of the Military Engineering Division and as SNR of the United States of America currently head of JSEC’s 13 United States personnel.

But not only the diversity of tasks pose a challenge for JSEC’s SNRs. “Each nation has its own spectrum of education, knowledge, skills and view of workflow. Every different country accepts interests on their own level and sees JSEC’s goals individually. Communication and interaction of the nations are the vital instruments on how to reach JSEC’s goals,” explaines Brigadier General Vladmir Lang, Deputy Chief of Staff Cooperation and Communication and Czech SNR.

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Brigadier General Vladimir Lang, Deputy Chief of Staff Cooperation and Communication and Czech Senior National Representative (on the right) and Colonel Phillip Borders, Assistant Chief of Staff of the Military Engineering Division and Senior National Representative for the United States of America (second from the right) regularly get together with fellow Senior National Representatives in the Wilhelmsburg Barracks in Ulm (Photo: OR-4 Gina Seegert)
True to the motto ‘One for all and all for one’ we live this close cooperation right here at JSEC

The representatives also see their task in introducing JSEC, that reached its Full Operational Capability in September 2021 and which therefore belongs to NATO’s youngest military headquarters, to a larger audience within their nations in order to further increase their support for the Ulm-based command.

Once a month, all of JSEC’s SNR come together during an official meeting where they get to connect and discuss current issues and challenges. “Informal and spontaneous contacts with other SNRs happen very regularly, as there are three other SNRs working in the same directorate as I do,“ adds Philippe and also the other representatives underline the strong link between the individual SNRs.

“True to the motto ‘One for all and all for one’ we live this close cooperation right here at JSEC. We stand together as representatives of our homeland nation, as well as united for the Alliance,” adds Lang, whose home country, the Czech Republic, is taking an active part in NATO’s deterrence and defence efforts as leader of the multinational NATO Battlegroup in Slovakia and other deployments at the Alliance’s Eastern Flank.

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command

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