Nato-Russia Council

NRC Logistics Cooperation: 10 Years 10 Stories Anniversary Feature


Logistics form the backbone of all operations. Armed forces cannot do their job without fuel, water or medical supplies - to name just a few key elements. In today’s security environment where multinational operations are the norm rather than the exception, improved coordination, interoperability and pooling of resources between nations are highly important. NRC nations have been working together for the last 10 years to improve military and civilian cooperation on logistics, in order to facilitate NRC operational cooperation. 

The wide variety of NRC logistics work  

In the NRC Logistics working group, practical opportunities are being explored for logistics cooperation in a number of areas, including aviation fuel interoperability, medical services and water purification. NRC Logistics’ seminars and meetings allow experts from nations to share best practices on logistics, enabling better mutual understanding of national approaches. They are also used to investigate where and how future cooperation is possible.  The road map on fuels and lubricants produced in 2011 was instrumental in developing cooperation and establishing relationships, and has led to highly positive progress since then.

Work done through the NRC in recent years demonstrates the great potential of logistics cooperation between NRC nations. On fuels interoperability the aim in the NRC is to continue work to better ensure a supply of fuels and other petroleum products that can be used in support of possible joint activities. In June 2012 a NATO Russia Conference on Fuels Interoperability was held in Marseilles. This conference focused on the process of exchanging technical and practical information on fuel and fuel handling equipment compatibility and interoperability. Going forwards, NATO and Russia are looking specifically at the potential for naval fuels cooperation in mutual support of counter piracy operations. (Counter Piracy Cooperation: 10 Years 10 Stories Anniversary Feature). 


The expanding cooperation on medical expertise for operations is another key aspect of logistics cooperation between NRC nations. In June 2012 a medical seminar was held in St Petersburg, Russia, which combined exchanges of experience with a practical demonstration by Russian military medical units, to promote and facilitate medical cooperation. The goal of this work is to enhance mutual medical expertise, and eventually broaden cooperation in this area.  

NRC nations are also continuing to work towards greater interoperability on water generation and handling, a critical part of support for operations. In July 2012 participants in the NATO Russia Council Water Handling Workshop in Moscow examined the interoperability of deployable water production, storage and distribution equipment, as well as the procedures that are used in water handling.


Logistics cooperation in action

Notably work done towards fuel interoperability is clearly producing significant results. ISAF has used Russian aviation fuel in Afghanistan since the outset of the mission. Similarly, Russia used NATO fuel during its participation in MINURCAT, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad. Planning is underway for future cooperation. In 2013 a key logistics exercise will take place in Slovakia, where NRC nations will take steps to assess interoperability of logistics systems and procedures. 


Logistics cooperation and Afghanistan

A key part of cooperation on logistics in the NRC has been the work done on Afghanistan. Working together towards a peaceful and secure Afghanistan is an important area of cooperation in the NRC. NRC nations share a common interest in ensuring it never again becomes a haven for terrorists. Supporting ISAF’s ability to fulfil its UN-mandated role is a key task, which NRC nations are supporting through logistics cooperation. 

NATO and Russia are working to develop the Northern Line of Communication. Transit arrangements were first agreed between NATO and Russia in Spring 2008, which allowed the land transit of non-military equipment for contributors to ISAF. At the Lisbon Summit in 2010, NRC leaders agreed amendments to the arrangements approved in 2008, allowing land transit of non-lethal cargo both to and from Afghanistan. Russian carriers have transported more than 60 thousand ISAF containers through Russian territory with great effectiveness.  

Then on 25 June 2012 the Russian Government adopted the Decree № 637 “Amending the Government of the Russian Federation Resolution № 219 of 28 March 2008,” setting out a simplified procedure for the ground transit of freight through Russian territory to and from Afghanistan for ISAF, extending the transit scheme to combine rail, road and air transport. 

For more information on the NATO Russia transit arrangements in support of ISAF, please click here for a detailed questions and answers.