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Nov 11 2022

The Joint Support and Enabling Command expands and intensifies its Reinforcement and Sustainment Network

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ULM, Germany – From 8 to 10 November, 2022 experts from Allied NATO nations, accession candidate Finland and the whole Allied Command Operations (ACO) Community, with its Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), and further NATO entities came together in the Wilhelmsburg Barracks, home to the Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC), for the headquarters Reinforcement and Sustainment Network (RSN) Fall Conference.

Discussions focused on requirements, perspectives and experiences for further development of close cooperation and partnerships between JSEC and Allied Nations and headquarters. This is the premise for JSEC to fulfil its core tasks of contribution to the enablement and the coordination of the reinforcement by forces and their sustainment in a 360 degrees approach in the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s (SACEUR) area of responsibility (AOR).

[...] the Fall Conference [...] represents the second milestone towards the finalisation of the RSN

Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, JSEC Commander and the Conference’s host explains, “After the initial RSN Conference in June 2022, the Fall Conference with nearly 160 participants from NATO member states, Finland and NATO entities like SHAPE and the Joint Forces Commands in Brunssum, Naples and Norfolk represents the second milestone towards the finalisation of the RSN.”

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  Participants from over 25 nations followed the invitation by Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, Commander Joint Support and Enabling Command (front row in the middle), to the Reinforcement and Sustainment Network Conference in the Wilhelmsburg Barracks in Ulm from 8 to 10 November (Photo: OR-4 AF Gina Seegert)  
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  Commander Joint Support and Enabling Command, Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank, hosted the Reinforcement and Sustainment Network Conference in Ulm  from 8 to 10 November and welcomed the participants to the Wilhelmsburg Barracks 
(Photo: OR-4 AF Gina Seegert)

That network is part of a wider effort JSEC is working on. Based on the principal ideas on how to enable SACEUR’s AOR, the development of a “toolbox” to realise these ideas is essential. This toolbox is the multi-domain RSN. It includes affected stakeholders from the civil and military environment to ensure a State-level approach. Together with Allied nations and partners, information on infrastructure, installations and other elements are brought together. Legal, contracting and administrative regulations are also illuminated and cumulated as all these details are of importance for the transportation of troops, materiel and supplies.

The main role for the RSN will be to support any operation [...] in SACEUR's AOR. This contributes to a credible deterrence and if required an effective and efficient defence of every inch of Allied territory

JSEC’s compilation of the provided information generates an overview used by NATO commanders and Allied nations. The assessments give advice and recommendation on how to organize movements with the aim that required forces are in the right place at the right time.

“JSEC is to have the RSN prepared and ready for activation anytime when required, by establishing it in cooperation with the Allied Nations in peacetime. The main role for the RSN will be to support any operation as well as vigilance activities in SACEUR’s AOR,” emphasizes Sollfrank. “This contributes to a credible deterrence and if required an effective and efficient defence of every inch of Allied territory.”

To manage this RSN effectively and efficiently is crucial to fulfill JSEC’s tasks. Effective – Efficient – Enablement therefore represent the three main cornerstones of the headquarters’ activities.

By having the Reinforcement and Sustainment Network established in peacetime already, JSEC is well prepared and capable of enabling SACEUR’s AOR in crisis and conflict. Meanwhile, the military headquarters is also executing the role of the reinforcement and sustainment domain advisor for the SACEUR, providing him with all relevant information in these areas and assisting to take the right strategic level decisions. By efficiently fulfilling its mission, JSEC enhances effectiveness within NATO and contributes to the Alliance's readiness and credibility.

“Working together through digital channels naturally works and gets us the results we need but meeting in person at a Conference like this adds great value as discussions with all the different NATO entities and partners face to face, both in briefings and one on one talks, intensify the exchange of different views and expertise. I am very satisfied with the last couple of days here in Ulm and the progress we’ve made,” highlights a Spanish participant at the end of the conference.

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Participants of the Reinforcement and Sustainment Network Fall Conference seized the opportunity to exchange expertise and experiences during briefings and discussions
(Photos: OR-4 AF Gina Seegert)

More Information

What is SACEUR’s AOR?

From North America’s East Coast over to the Baltic States in Europe’s Northeast, from Poland and Romania in Eastern Europe to Türkiye and Greece in the South, the static operational headquarters JSEC with its RSN adds to NATO’s ability to project and sustain combat power into, across and from that AOR of SACEUR, to whom JSEC is directly subordinated.

Basic information about JSEC

After a three-year set-up phase, JSEC finally reached its Full Operational Capability in September 2021.

After Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, the need for a fast deployment of forces was brought into focus at the NATO Summit in Wales.

In 2016, at the Summit in Warsaw and based on a steadily changing security environment, NATO’s Command Structure was further assessed before two years later, in 2018, at the Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Brussels, two new commands, the JSEC and the US based Joint Force Command Norfolk, were established.

With today’s around 300 posts and 25 represented nations, the JSEC in Ulm contributes to the new NATO strategy, that was introduced in September 2022 and focuses on “Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area” underlining the close link between North America and Europe.

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command

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Germany