GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany –
Representatives from 13 countries met in person to talk fuel infrastructure, future operations, future initiatives, challenges, and increased partnership opportunities during the 17th annual Defense Logistics Agency Energy Fuels Exchange Agreement Forum in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Sept. 20-22.
Since 2007, DLA Energy Europe & Africa has hosted the forum to provide officials the opportunity to learn more about the DLA Energy International Fuel Agreements program and share information with our worldwide partners.
“These relationships and the partnerships we have built consistently show the world that we can stand united together while supporting one another,” said DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas. “This past year has brought new concerns with potential threats that could affect all of us, over land, sea, or air. I ask you to think both strategically and operationally as we consider future fuel support going forward, especially in a contested and degraded environment.”
This year marks the largest forum in 17 years. Nearly 90 military and civilian representatives from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ghana, and NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe attended.
For Ghana, this is the first time attending. Dominic Aboagye, head of Planning for Ghana’s National Petroleum Authority, gave a presentation on Ghana’s fuel capabilities, challenges and future plans. Kamel Haruna, Director of Ghana’s National Petroleum Authority Security and Intelligence, said the forum was an ideal networking opportunity with international partners.
“We wanted to meet the responsible offices and learn about the operations of DLA and how to get information timeously on orders placed. Ghana is a place where the U.S. Air Force in Niger procure the fuel through third parties, so we have some issues and challenges,” Haruna said. “This forum has given us the opportunity to meet the right people because sometimes there are delays in seeking information and cross checking that the fuel is getting to the right place.”
Haruna provided a specific example of how the forum helped him develop international partnerships.
“Spain is requesting if Ghana can supply the vessels fuel within our region,” he said. “This is an area we are exploring, so this has been a good opportunity for us to see if we are going to be able to do business.”
Fuel exchange agreements provide fuel cross-servicing capabilities between partner nations and coalition forces worldwide. DLA Energy currently has 42 fuel agreements. Synchronized with DLA Energy regional offices, the DLA Energy International Fuel Agreements team is responsible for establishing and maintaining these long-term Department of Defense fuel agreements with foreign militaries.
Capt. Francesco Piscali, head of Italian Navy Oil and Lube Office, briefed Italy’s resources and petroleum storage facilities. He said this summer has been a “perfect storm” between supply and demand in the Mediterranean. As operations are increasing due to the Ukraine crisis and because more assets have returned to missions as COVID-19 pandemic eases, so is the need for fuel in the region. He credits the international relationships and fuel exchanges agreements for filling the gap.
The forum’s focus is on helping international partners explore ways to strengthen interoperability, discuss mutual fuel support efforts and troubleshoot challenges. Topics of discussion centered around Acquisition Cross-Service Agreements, pipeline systems, and the progression of alternative fuels.
“The most important aspect of this forum is meeting people from other NATO nations with similar problems and who we exercise with on a regular basis,” said Richard Greathead, Army Headquarters in the United Kingdom. “If there is a fuel problem you need to chase up or a fuel problem with equipment compatibility, you’ve got a name and a face to follow that through.”
Siobhán Toveri, the Office of Defense Programs Coordinator from the U.S. Embassy in Finland, said the Forum was a mutually beneficial engagement opportunity.
“Last year, Finland had a problem with the ASCA limitations for fuel exchanges with the U.S.,” she said. “During this forum, I learned of simple options available and the people who can help to ensure the issue doesn’t happen again.”
She added that she was able to help a member of the DLA Energy Team get contact information for other ODC programs coordinators around the world. The ODC facilitates U.S. and international defense cooperation activities providing a bridge between U.S. and foreign militaries and defense sectors in order to enhance partnerships, maintain close cooperation, and increase interoperability between our nations and NATO.
“We all face challenges. We are all in the deterrence game,” Canlas said. “But when deterrence fails, our coalition and allies need to be ready to dominate and win.”
In addition to strengthening networks and relationships, partners discuss country specific fuel reconciliations and repayments during the forum. DLA Energy Finance personnel presented a briefing, met one-on-one with international counterparts, and signed settlements totaling $48.4 million providing reimbursement to the Department of Defense Working Capital Fund.
Stay tuned for follow up stories about the forum’s financial successes or check out DLA’s Facebook page to find more pictures from the forum.