This year, DEFENDER-Europe exercises will kick off in Durres, Albania, with a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore operation that will demonstrate the awesome power of U.S. Joint Forces, working together with international partners and allies, as they move more than 800 pieces of heavy equipment and a storehouse of supplies from ship to shore to support thousands of Troops in the field as they train to respond to threat or crisis at any place, any time, anywhere in the world.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Elam, Maritime Operations Advisor to the Joint Task Force-7 Commander, who has spent 24 years as an Army vessel commander, planning
maritime and terminal operations, said preparing for the event has taken years.
According to Elam, every year the U.S. Transportation Command sponsors joint training between the Army and Navy known as Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore. United States European Command and U.S. Army Europe – Africa started the initial planning for JLOTS 21 in 2019. In January, 2020, United States Transportation Command sponsored the concept development conference where the fledgling concept evolved and was then presented to leadership.
During the past 18 months, sustainment units from Joint Task Force 7, EUCOM, TRANSCOM, and the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, have collaborated to ensure the successful execution of the JLOTS operation in support of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s upcoming participation in DEFENDER-Europe 21.
The JLOTS operation at Durres Port will demonstrate the capabilities of the Joint Forces to stage and transport much-needed equipment and supplies to those Troops in the field, in a real-world, real-time application.
“The major objective for this exercise is to demonstrate the United States and Allies ability to project power into the European theater through limited or degraded ports,” said Elam.
Although Durres Port is a fully outfitted commercial port, the same operations that the Army and Navy will work together to execute there apply to areas where no viable port is available. With JLOTS capabilities, U.S. Forces can provide port opening capability at the seaport of debarkation, terminal operations, cargo documentation, sustainment support and distributed logistics between Baltic nations.
While JLOTS capability is extremely important to the combatant commander, providing open lines of communication and supply to areas cut-off by an adversary and facilitating sustainment support through unexpected routes, JLOTS has also been used extensively in humanitarian support missions around the world, Elam explained.
In 2010, when Port-of-Prince, Haiti, was destroyed by a devastating earthquake, JLOTS capability was underway within 72 hours, playing an essential role in reopening the port for humanitarian aid that saved many lives.
According to Elam, the Army and Navy have similar capabilities that, when combined, significantly increase the overall capability of the force. Training as a Joint Force, along with our international partners and allies, on a frequent basis, ensures that the separate entities are able to communicate and work together seamlessly when the need arises.
We are– stronger together.
DEFENDER-Europe is an annual large-scale U.S. Army-led, multinational, joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between U.S., NATO and partner militaries. This year, more than 28,000 multinational forces from 27 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in more than a dozen countries from the Baltics to the strategically important Balkans and Black Sea Region. Follow the latest news and information about DEFENDER-Europe 21, visit www.EuropeAfrica.army.mil/DefenderEurope.