Friday, March 18, 2016

New NATO Units Will Help US Army Move Across Europe

As the US Army grows its presence and steps up its activities and partnerships in Europe, the service has learned many lessons on navigating border crossings and securing diplomatic clearances across the region.
In fiscal year 2014, the Army processed about 2,000 diplomatic clearances, one for every border crossing, said Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. That number almost tripled in fiscal 2015, with soldiers handling almost 5,700 diplomatic clearances as troops moved and trained in countries such as Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria.
“It frustrates us all that we can’t move stuff rapidly across these borders, but they’re sovereign borders,” Gamble said Wednesday during a meeting here with reporters at the Association of the United States Army Global Force Symposium and Exposition. “The No. 1 friction point is diplomatic clearances.”
For example, it takes 15 to 30 days to get clearance to move materiel across the Polish border, he said.
But “the countries are listening,” Gamble said, adding that at least one is looking to ease its border restrictions for US troop movements. more