Supporting Ukraine: Current initiatives and opportunities
by Duke Heinz | 17 Oct 2023
The international community's commitment to supporting Ukraine's defense and reconstruction efforts has seen multiple initiatives and opportunities converge. This article provides an overview of the recent developments in Ukraine's logistics and military support landscape, emphasizing both ongoing operations and future possibilities.
U.S. European Command's J4 Logistics Directorate has played a pivotal role in orchestrating logistical efforts supporting Ukraine. Managing a small but agile staff, the Directorate faced the daunting task of overseeing theatre logistics for the Combatant Command when Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, the first large-scale ground combat operations in Europe in over 75 years.
Inception of IDCC/ECC-U:
A governing body was needed to coordinate, meter, de-conflict, and prioritize Security Force Assistance (SFA) deliveries to support Ukraine. While lacking official authority, this became a coalition of nations willing to assist. Fourteen countries sent full-time Liaison Officers (LNOs), forming the International Donor Coordination Cell (IDCC)/EUCOM Control Center-Ukraine (ECC- U). This initiative included the establishment of Logistics Enabling Nodes, Border Crossing Points, and other strategic elements to ensure the smooth flow of materials and equipment to Ukraine.
Evolution to the Current State:
Ukraine's forces require training in the operation and maintenance of Western-donated equipment. This training takes place in Germany, Poland, and the Baltic states. The Remote Maintenance and Distribution-Ukraine (RDCU) in Poland was set up for depot-level repairs of back-hauled equipment and formalized the establishment of a tiered capability system, aligned with the echelon of Ukrainian forces, ensures that maintenance and repair resources are deployed at various levels.
Looking ahead, the U.S. European Command is prioritizing its efforts and resources to continue to support Ukraine, particularly as the focus on INDOPACOM and the growing threat from China continues. NATO and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) are actively supporting Ukraine through financial and equipment donations and coordinating contractual agreements.
Additionally, the European Union and its Member States contribute significantly to Ukraine's post-hostilities reconstruction and resilience.
Several opportunities are emerging in the realm of logistics and support for Ukraine. Transportation and backhaul of equipment set and repair parts are essential components. The Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) concept is gaining traction to bring the capability forward to neighboring countries and ultimately into Ukraine. The involvement of U.S. organizations such as ASC, AMC, 21st TSC, and 409th is vital as they look to bring the U.S. industrial base to Europe, which presents an array of requirements for commercial capabilities and component-level repair. Additional opportunities include sourcing repair parts for systems in short supply and exploring the potential use of Additive Manufacturing as well as Master and Supervisor Training programs for Ukrainians and partnering with Level 5 nations for tools, parts, and skilled labor.
The ongoing and future initiatives to support Ukraine are multifaceted and comprehensive. While challenges remain, the collaboration between various nations, organizations, and agencies underscores a collective commitment to assisting Ukraine in its defense and reconstruction efforts. The evolving landscape of logistics, training, and maintenance offers a glimpse of a brighter future for Ukraine as it continues to strengthen its armed forces and rebuild its resilience.