The Logistics Support Group: The Backbone of Op REASSURANCE
Article / August 17, 2016
By: Ashley Black
With any Canadian Armed Forces mission, service support is a critical factor that ensures Canadian soldiers have the food, equipment, supplies, accommodations, transportation and key capabilities they need to carry out their tasks. For the Land Task Force (LTF) component of Operation REASSURANCE, based out of Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area in Poland, the team responsible for ensuring these needs are met is the Logistics Support Group.
The deployed logistics team comprises personnel from 15 different trades - from supply technicians to medical staff to military police.
“On an average day, we manage both the macro-level operation requirements, as well as the day-to-day needs of the LTF,” says Captain Chandler Zedic, the Commander of the Logistics Support Group for the Operation REASSURANCE Land Task Force. “It entails coordinating something we call ‘host-nation support’, which refers to the various services that the Polish provide us on base.”
Part of Operation REASSURANCE’s mandate is to participate in training exercises throughout Central and Eastern Europe. When there is an exercise, the Logistics Support Group does a lot of preparation. The logistical support to an exercise affects troops’ ability to train.
“We rely on contracts with civilian industry to help move personnel and equipment, and we also have to ensure that we have the requisite permits and access passes to transit through the various countries in the region so we can reach our final destination,” says Captain Zedic.
Planning is crucial to the logistical success of any exercise. The need to move personnel and equipment during an exercise means that travel and distance can sometimes test the abilities of the Logistics Support Group. “Distance is the main challenge,” says Captain Zedic. “That challenge forces us to adapt to a much longer planning cycle. We currently identify our requirements approximately a month and a half beforehand to ensure that there is enough time to either procure items locally or to order the equipment from Canada.”
Despite the challenges faced by the Logistics Support Group, there have been many small victories for the team throughout their deployment. A significant success story for the Logistics Support Group is when the LTF participated in a major exercise in Romania. “We coordinated things so that, once the camp was set up, the main body of soldiers, equipment, weapons, ammunition and communications gear all arrived at the same time,” says Captain Zedic. “There were a lot of moving parts but, in the end, everything worked out and Canadian soldiers were able to participate in the exercise alongside our Romanian allies.”
Soldiers deployed to the Land Task Force component of Op REASSURANCE continue to train in Poland. The current rotation of soldiers will be replaced by a new rotation in late-August.
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