Concept development and operational planning during the 5-week 2020 Africa Distribution Network Forum (ADNF) culminated with a Proof of Principle (PoP) that demonstrated the potential game-changing effectiveness of combined-joint airlift capacity sharing. The U.S. Africa Command logistics team, working in partnership with the Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE) and other multinational partners, displayed a picture of the future; allies and partner integrated logistics.
The Proof of Principle, held on Feb. 16-17, was the result of creative planning efforts and modified business processes that stemmed from the 2020 ADNF. During the PoP, partner nation movement requirements were consolidated aboard a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the multinational Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) in Papa, Hungary.
“The PoP applies the intent of the Interim National Security Strategy to bolster alliances and partnerships to the Combatant Command’s focus on partner-centric logistics operations across the continent,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Kevin Jones, U.S. Africa Command director of logistics.
The mission demonstrated the effectiveness of coordinating partner requirements and planning factors with the Eindhoven, Netherlands-based MCCE. This collaboration allowed for multinational airlift and node handling capabilities to deliver cargo originating from Norway, The Netherlands, Canada, and France to destinations across West Africa.
“The benefit of multinational consolidation of airlift requirements and assets allows each participant to expand its reach; streamline ground support capabilities; and reduce overall delivery times to operational units on the ground,” said Jones. “Imagine waiting an hour for your co-worker to pick you up or catching an immediate ride from your neighbor who works in another agency but is heading in the general direction and doesn’t mind dropping you off.”
The mission was conducted utilizing the only multinational C-17 wing in the world. The wing is comprised of 145 personnel from twelve strategic airlift-capable nations. The framework accepts Air Transportation and Refueling Exchange of Services (ATARES) as well as HAW hours as payment methods for airlift.
To enable the PoP, the ATARES and HAW methods were applied, providing a multinational framework to facilitate mutual support through the exchange of services, applying mutually acceptable arrangements.
“The equipment and supplies delivered during the proof of principle demonstrates U.S., allies and partner commitment to supporting those West African nations in their efforts to counter violent extremist activities, where we collectively operate,” Jones added.
The ADNF is a collective of partners meeting to present a common understanding of logistical requirements and capabilities that align national interests to reach mutually beneficial outcomes across the African continent.
“We’ve learned a lot from this effort and have a solid way forward to build on the success of this initial proof of principle,” said Jones. “We are well postured to continue to improve partner-centric logistics.”