HELSINKI — Logistics cooperation among Nordic and Baltic between the militaries of both the Nordic and Baltic countries will is set to deepen under Denmark’s newly assumed chairmanship of the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO) inter-state vehicle. 

The need for closer logistics collaboration is being driven by the planned increase in joint force activities both on the operations side and in the area of mission support infrastructure. 

A more robust focus by Nordic and Baltic militaries on sharing tasks and pooling resources , both to support joint operations in the near neighborhoods of the Baltic Sea and the Arctic High North, will demand a degree of a scaling-up of logistics collaboration that to a point where it permeates all levels of core defense cooperation. in the future.    

"Together we are building improved capacity and a stronger shared capability. Logistics will remain a vital area of military cooperation and development within NORDEFCO," said Peter Christensen, Denmark's defense minister.

The logistics agenda for Denmark's 12-month chair of NORDEFCO has been expanded to include the NATO-aligned Baltic states, as agreed under the Nordic-Baltic Declaration reached by government leaders in Stockholm in November 2015.

Closer logistics cooperation with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also extends to is not alone planned in a Nordic-Baltic task-specific framework, but also in the coordination of force and equipment contributions to support UN nited Nations (UN) missions as well as possible future joint contributions to the East African Standby Force. 

Planning units within NORDEFCO are currently examining the overall cost and degree of logistics support required to enable the Nordic countries to provide an airborne transport capacity to UN missions on a rotational basis. 

Nordic militaries have already developed a well functioning, and cost-efficient airborne transport capacity through the Nordic Tactical Air Transport (NORTAT) unit, which has supported proved to be a capable and cost-efficient resource in supporting joint international missions. 

Moreover, NORDEFCO is also looking at the feasibility of establishing Nordic capacity to deliver contributions, on a rotational basis, to the UN’s Peacekeeping Capabilities Readiness System. (PCRS).

Logistics collaboration between militaries will also develop as part of ongoing Nordic-Baltic joint capacity-building projects in Ukraine and Georgia, as well as proposals to develop shared naval and air bases that would give aircraft, warships and military vehicles from member states greater enhanced access to the territories of other NORDEFCO countries.  

"The collective concept of Nordic defense is maturing. It has come quite a long way from being a low-profile vehicle for standard cross-border cooperation, to becoming a very credible and stabilizing tool in regional security confidence-building. The deeper the cooperation goes, the greater the need will be for logistics cooperation, planning and support, especially for joint international operations," said Allan Widman, chairman of the Swedish parliament's Committee on Defense.

The expansion in logistics resource planning and joint mission cooperation between Nordic and Baltic forces is backed by the Vision 2020 plan agreed to by Nordic governments in 2013. The plan envisages increased joint international operations and more expansive multibranch training and exercises between their armed forces. to sharpen national and collective action readiness capabilities.

According to the Vision 2020 charter, Nordic countries will aim to strengthen coordination in the areas of capability development, armaments cooperation, international operations capacity building, training and exercises.

"There will be an increased pooling of capabilities and deepening cooperation in the area of life-cycle support of our defense inventories," the charter states.

The planned establishment of a Nordic-Baltic Battalion Task Force (BTF) under the Vision 2020 plan will drive military cooperation in the area of logistics. The air-supported BTF is intended as a rapid-response unit, with extreme weather capabilities, that can be deployed regionally or to a more distant theater of operation.  

Industrial cooperation on logistics and life-cycle support for equipment, as well as joint maintenance and logistics support for the tactical air transport aircraft operated by Nordic militaries, will also be further developed by NORDEFCO, said Christiansen.

COPA Operations (COPA OPS) and COPA Capabilities (COPA CAPA) will remain the primary areas within NORDEFCO responsible for driving agreed and new forms of logistics cooperation initiatives related to joint international operations. 

The main focus for COPA OPS has been Afghanistan, where all Nordic forces contribute to the International Security Assistance Force. (ISAF). Close cooperation continues within the core areas of medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) helicopters, logistics and the operational mentoring (OMLT) of the Afghan Army. 

COPA CAPA is tasked with runs ning projects designed to get the best performance from that deliver optimum utilization of Nordic militaries’ air transport assets. (NORTAT). This area of collaborative-logistics’ focus includes operational use, maintenance, training and exercises, air transport capabilities, and base camp material provision and sharing. , as well as common Land Mobility Engineering tasks. 

The smart use of Logistics to support joint operations flows naturally is a natural outcome from Nordic defense cooperation, given the tighter budgetary constraints facing their militaries, said Jens Brülls, a Berlin-based defense analyst. 

"Nordic militaries have a much greater need to build resources and reinforce their capabilities at this time of uncertainty in the Baltic Sea region. Governments remain concerned about Russia’s long-term intentions. We will see more and larger joint  projects that elevate the importance of logistics collaboration even further as the defense partnership between the Nordic and Baltic militaries becomes deeper," said Jens Brülls said., a Berlin-based defense analyst. 

Logistics sharing is becoming a more attractive and cost-efficient solution for Nordic militaries. Sweden recently leased two complete base camp material sets from the Norwegian Army’s Logistics Command Center to support its mission in Mali. 

Located at Bamako Senou International Airport,  some 10 miles (15km) south of Mali’s capital Bamako, the Swedish base camp was transported and delivered in 200 containers. 

The logistics solution struck between Sweden and Norway was made possible by a strategic cross-border agreement earlier reached between FMV (Försvarets Materielverk), the Swedish defense material administration and NDLO (Norges Forsvarets Logistikkorganisasjon), the Norwegian military’s defense logistics organization.

NORDEFCO is also planning to establish a new Nordic base camp material pool to support joint military operations among Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Baltic armed forces. going forward.