FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
As the Russian incursion into Ukraine continues, Defense Logistics Agency Energy Europe & Africa is continuing its efforts with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s allies to ensure fuel is available to meet operational commitments.
Army Lt. Col. Benverren Fortune is the DLA Energy Europe & Africa commander. He and Sam Cooks, the DLA Energy liaison officer to NATO, attended the Central Europe Pipeline System Program Board meeting with delegates from France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the United States in Versailles, France, from Feb. 27 to March 1.
The CEPS PB is the governing body for the CEPS and meets three times a year to provide guidance for management of NATO’s largest pipeline system. The CEPS is one of the most complex and extensive networks of refined product pipelines in the world and is designed and managed to meet operational requirements in NATO in peace, crisis and conflict. Its international participants include the NATO International Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, U.S. European Command, and DLA Energy.
“The PB includes national representatives from six member nations and is the governing body for operations, finance, and infrastructure for the CEPS,” Fortune said. “The national delegates congregate three times a year to provide strategic direction and oversight of operations, finance, and infrastructure for the CEPS network.”
The summer sessions are hosted by each nation on a rotational basis. The other two annual sessions (outside summer sessions) are hosted by the CEPS Program Office.
The CEPS is a key element of military readiness for NATO and can quickly provide military commanders with fuel for aircraft and ground vehicles and contributes to strengthening the Alliance’s deterrence and defense posture. DLA Energy’s attendance at international fuel meetings is paramount to providing support to NATO partners.
“The U.S. is the largest military customer of CEPS, using it to move fuel to its major installations in Germany and contributes financially to keep the system running,” Fortune said. “Our mission is to fulfill the warfighter’s requirements regardless of where it is and find a way to bridge the gap based on their requirements and capabilities so they can accomplish their mission.”
DLA Energy has been using its years of fuel experience supporting U.S. forces in Europe. DLA Energy Europe & Africa is responsible for 55.8 million square miles, covering 103 nations in all of Europe and Africa, and extends from 500 miles off the Atlantic coast of the United States to the Pacific coast of Russia. It includes two thirds of the Earth’s coastlines and spans 18 time zones.
Cooks works closely with the NATO Petroleum Committee on petroleum products. He developed and coordinated the U.S. Mission NATO’s talking points and formulated negotiation strategies for the first CEPS board meeting of 2023.
“We covered a lot of topics in a short amount of time,” Cooks said. “The PB covered operational activity repair and resilience capability, various NATO fuel supply chain initiatives. The meeting set the management expectations to ensure the CEPS is properly postured to support NATO military requirements.”
The U.S. is scheduled to host the next CEPS PB in FY24 from June 4-5 at Fort Belvoir.
“This effort will be led by DLA Energy to host the five other member nations at the helm with the assistance of our NATO LNO Sam Cooks,” Fortune said. “This will be an honor to continue the tradition of the CEP PB and support the NATO Alliance!”