The Logistics Committee (LC) is the senior advisory body on logistics in NATO.
Its overall mandate is two-fold: to address consumer logistics matters with a view to enhancing the performance, efficiency, sustainability and combat effectiveness of Alliance forces; and to exercise, on behalf of the North Atlantic Council, an overarching coordinating authority across the whole spectrum of logistics functions within NATO.
It carries out its work through subordinate bodies: the Logistics Committee Executive Group, the Movement and Transportation Group, and the Petroleum Committee.
The LC reports jointly to both the Military Committee and the North Atlantic Council, reflecting the dependence of logistics on both civil and military factors.
The LC is responsible for harmonizing and coordinating the development of policy recommendations and coordinated advice on civil and military logistic matters, Alliance logistic interoperability, and cooperation in logistics.
As new Alliance concepts, visions and technologies emerge, the LC ensures that the necessary logistic support concepts are in place and in line with the NATO vision for logistics.
A key document is “NATO Principles and Policies for Logistics” (MC 319/2), which establishes the principle of “collective responsibility” for logistic support between national and NATO authorities. It is based on the idea that both NATO and participating countries are responsible for the logistic support of NATO’s multinational operations and is characterized by close coordination and cooperation between national and NATO authorities during logistics planning and execution.
The LC is a joint civil/ military body where all member countries are represented. Membership is drawn from senior national civil and military representatives of ministries of defence or equivalent bodies with responsibility for consumer aspects of logistics in member countries. Representatives of the Strategic Commands, the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, the NATO Standardization Agency, the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services in NATO and other sectors of the NATO Headquarters Staff also participate in the work of the LC.
The LC meets under the chairmanship of the NATO Secretary General twice a year, in joint civil and military sessions. It has two permanent co-chairmen: the Assistant Secretary General of the division responsible for defence policy and planning issues and the Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee.
Support staff and subordinate bodies
The LC is supported jointly by dedicated staff in the International Secretariat (IS) and the International Military Staff (IMS).
It carries out its work through six subordinate bodies, of which the first two play the principal role:
- the Logistics Committee Executive Group;
- the Movement and Transportation Group;
- the Standing Group of Partner Logistic Experts;
- the Logistic Information Management Group;
- the Petroleum committee; and
- the Ammunition transport safety group.
The Logistics Committee Executive Group
This is the principal subordinate body, which advises the LC on general logistic matters. It monitors and coordinates the implementation of logistic policies, programmes and initiatives through consultation among countries, the strategic commanders and other NATO logistic and logistic-related bodies. It also provides a forum for addressing logistic concerns and coordinates with the Movement and Transportation Group and other subordinate bodies, and harmonizes their work with the LC’s overall policies and programmes.
Furthermore, the Logistics Committee Executive Group develops logistic policies, programmes and initiatives for the LC’s consideration.
It meets twice a year in the same format as the LC and is co-chaired by a civil co-chairman, the Head, IS Logistics, and by a military co-chairman, the Deputy Assistant Director, IMS Logistics, Armaments and Resources Division.
The Movement and Transportation Group
As its name indicates, this group is specialized in the area of movement and transport. It advises the LC on movement and transportation matters and monitors and coordinates the implementation of related policies, programmes and initiatives through consultation and cooperation among countries, the strategic commanders and other NATO transportation and transportation-related groups and agencies.
It is co-chaired by the same people who co-chair the Logistics Committee Executive Group - the Head, IS Logistics, and the Deputy Assistant Director, IMS Logistics, Armaments and Resources Division – and also meets twice a year, in March and September in the same format as the LC. In addition, the three Transport Planning Boards and Committees of the Civil Emergency Planning Committee are represented on the Movement and Transportation Group.
Both the Logistics Committee Executive Group and the Movement and Transportation Group can form ad hoc working groups to carry out specific tasks that require a certain expertise.
The Standing Group of Partner Logistic Experts
This group identifies, develops and promotes the employment of Partner logistic forces and capabilities volunteered by Partners for NATO-led operations. It does this under the guidance of the Logistics Committee Executive Group with Partners and the Movement and Transportation Group with Partners. It also makes recommendations concerning logistics pre-arrangements to the strategic commanders and, more generally, provides a forum for addressing logistic topics related to the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme that any member or PfP country may want to raise.
This group meets twice a year under the chairmanship of a Partner country; the chair is assumed for a two-year term. Membership comprises the strategic commanders and senior staff officers from NATO and Partner countries, the IS, the IMS, and the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA).
The Logistic Information Management Group
This is NATO’s overarching logistics information management body. It reviews, assesses and recommends NATO logistic information management requirements and develops logistic information management policy and guidance for consideration by the Logistics Committee Executive Group.
The Logistic Information Management Group is chaired by a country representative and comprises experts from NATO and Partner countries. It meets as often as necessary.
The Petroleum Committee
This Committee is the senior advisory body in NATO for logistic support to Alliance forces on all matters concerning petroleum, including the NATO Pipeline System (NPS), other petroleum installations and handling equipment.
The Petroleum Committee deals with questions related to NATO petroleum requirements and how they are met in times of peace, crisis and conflict, including expeditionary operations.
The Ammunition Transport Safety Group
This group provides guidance for NATO forces on procedures for planning, organising and conducting the logistic transportation of munitions and explosives and dangerous goods using the different modes of transportations available.
Working with other committees
The LC works in close cooperation with the Civil Emergency Planning Committee (CEPC). The CEPC is responsible for coordinating the use of civil resources to support the Alliance’s overall defence effort. The responsibilities of these two committees are interrelated, bringing them and their related sub-committees to work closely together.
The LC also works with the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, NATO Standardization Agency and the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services in NATO.
Logistic conferences were, for a long time, a feature of planning within NATO’s military command structure. In 1964, the ACE Logistics Coordination Centre (LCC) was formed to meet the requirements of Allied Command Europe. This centre had detailed emergency and wartime roles, which were rehearsed and tested during exercises. The Atlantic Command (SACLANT) also had a Logistics Coordination Board.
However, as Alliance preparedness including logistics readiness and sustainability became a priority, there was an increased need for cooperation and coordination in consumer logistics. What was then called the Senior NATO Logisticians’ Conference (SNLC) was therefore established in 1979 and has since developed and introduced logistic support concepts to meet the logistic challenges of the future. It was renamed the Logistics Committee in June 2010 after a thorough review of NATO committees aimed at introducing more flexibility and efficiency into working procedures.