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Logistic exercise plans way forward for NATO

23 May 2016

The UK will assume responsibility for NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), centred on 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade based in Germany, on 1 Jan 17. Ahead of this, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Logistic Operations) Major General Angus Fay hosted a two-day Logistic Assurance Wargame in Tidworth, attended by more than 200 UK and NATO personnel on 11-12 May 16.

The wargame, which was held in advance of July’s NATO summit in Warsaw, analysed the logistic risks and challenges to Defence to mount, deploy and sustain the VJTF17 force at very short notice to anywhere within or outside NATO’s borders. Experts from the MOD, Army, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), Royal Air Force and Royal Navy sat alongside industry partners to examine the thorny logistic issues facing Defence that need to be resolved.

Tactical and strategic exercises have already taken place, including Exercise GRIFFIN STRIKE, held in the UK, and more are being planned as NATO’s VJTF17 prepares to stand up under 20 AI Bde, which heads a framework group of 14 nations.

Logistics

Day 1

The first phase of the wargame examined how to ensure that the VJTF17 will be properly resourced with equipment and stores from the strategic base in both the UK and Germany.  More important was how this could be done at extremely short notice and in conjunction with the numerous contractors that support Defence.

Following this, the wargame examined the challenges of deploying the UK force alongside RAF and Royal Navy elements in a sequenced manner from the UK and Germany.  Underpinning all was the need to ensure the rapid delivery of a credible Spearhead and VJTF main-body force ready for use as quickly as possible.

Day 2

VJTF17 Sending and Host Nations attended Day 2 and provided updates on their national and HQ planning. Given the importance of their contribution to the Framework Group’s capability and execution, this information was invaluable. Allies confirmed their deploying force elements and capabilities and provided details of the national deployment plans and training activity to ensure the Framework Group as a whole will be ready to deploy from 1 Jan 17.

Summary

Meeting the demands of the VJTF will prove a challenge to all areas of Defence. The Logistic Assurance Wargame has made significant progress in identifying many of the key challenges in the logistic arena and addressing these needs well ahead of 1 Jan 17.

In leading the NATO VJTF in 2017 the UK is contributing about 3,000 personnel. It will provide the Brigade HQ, armoured infantry and light role infantry battlegroups plus communications, reconnaissance, intelligence capabilities, combat support and logistic elements, which will ensure that the multinational brigade can operate as a rapidly deployable and effective fighting force.

In addition the UK is contributing personnel to the Spanish- (2016) and Polish- (2020) led rotations of the VJTF.

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