Today, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, was joined by his counterpart, the Minister of Defence from the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Thomas de Maizière, to announce the location of the new Canadian Forces’ European Operational Support Hub at Germany’s Köln-Bonn airport.
The announcement was made following a meeting between Minister MacKay, Associate Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Julian Fantino, and Minister de Maizière in Ottawa.
“I was very pleased to meet with my counterpart, Minister de Maizière, and to have this opportunity to announce together that the Canadian Forces’ European Operational Support Hub will be located in Germany,” said Minister MacKay. “It is a pleasure to build on the long-standing relationship that Canada has developed with Germany as Allies through NATO, and in operations such as in Afghanistan.”
In 2009, with the consent of the German government, the Canadian Forces operated European Operational Support Hub at the United States Air Force base at Spangdahlem, Germany. This small logistics hub was instrumental in ensuring the Canadian Forces could move vital supplies and personnel in support of operations in Afghanistan. This previous arrangement serves as the basis for the more permanent European Operational Support Hub that will be established at Köln-Bonn.
The visit of Minister de Maizière also provided an invaluable opportunity for Ministers MacKay and Fantino to strengthen the defence relationship between Canada and Germany.
During their meeting, in addition to discussing practical areas of cooperation such as the establishment of the new European Operational Support Hub, the Ministers discussed a range of issues including operations in Afghanistan and the upcoming 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago.
For over 60 years, Canada and Germany have worked side by side as members of NATO. Canada’s defence partnership with Germany was recently underscored by the shared experience and cooperation on the UN-mandated, NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. The German government, for example, facilitated and expedited Canada’s securing of Leopard II tanks for the Canadian Forces mission in Kandahar in 2007. Canada has also benefitted from the generous use of German airspace for our many flights in the region, and has used nearby German accommodation facilities for thousands of Canadian soldiers as they were staged in and out of Afghanistan.
Canadian Forces Operational Support Hubs
An Operational Support Hub (OSH) is a strategic international location where Canadian personnel have pre-arranged access to necessary services, facilities and capabilities, so that supplies can be staged and so the Canadian Forces (CF) have a flexible and cost-efficient location to deploy and sustain international operations. An OSH enhances the ability of the CF to respond to crises in a timely manner, whether the need is humanitarian relief, peace support, or combat operations throughout an immediate region or beyond. An Operational Support Hub is not a CF Base.
The OSH concept allows the Department of National Defence and the CF to better fulfill the Government’s mandate to make meaningful contributions across a full spectrum of international operations.
The Department of National Defence and the CF continue to pursue discussions with potential partner nations for the establishment of a worldwide OSH network. A robust OSH network will allow the Canadian Forces to more efficiently and effectively deploy on short notice to locations around the world, and to sustain operations and missions anywhere across the globe where the unique capabilities of the CF are required.
Operational Support Hub Europe
The CF has operated a small OSH at Spangdahlem, Germany, since the summer of 2009. While modest in size and scope, this location proved the benefits of the OSH concept in cost savings, time, and resource efficiencies through its use in sustaining Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Analysis was conducted and it is deemed important for the CF to continue maintaining an OSH capability within the area.
After careful consideration, the German Air Force Base and civilian airport at Köln-Bonn, Germany, was identified as the optimal location for a more permanent OSH in Europe. This location at the large Köln-Bonn airport provides a very capable facility with 24/7 operating hours and infrastructure that can provide great flexibility in meeting the CF requirements, as well as providing tremendous access to the full range of transportation networks required to support our OSH operations.
In 2011, Canada entered into a focused agreement with Kuwait to establish an Intermediate Staging Terminal in Kuwait to specifically facilitate logistics support for ongoing CF operations in Afghanistan.
An Intermediate Staging Terminal is a temporary transportation point where materiel is transferred between modes of transportation, for example from air to sea, in order to reduce costs. In contrast, an OSH is designed to support a wider range of logistic and strategic activities.