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. Outsourcing The Answer For EU Forces, Commander Says

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by Leander Schaerlaeckens
Brussels (UPI) Mar 03, 2008
In order to fill critical logistical gaps in EU forces' crisis-management missions, the best solution could be provided by outsourced logistics contracts to the private sector, Henri Bentegeat, chairman of the EU Military Commission, said at a European Defense Agency conference.

Although the private sector already plays a sizable role in many missions, chiefly in supplying services such as catering and fuel, the EU forces would benefit from an increase in that support. Aside from being a more financially efficient service than the one armed forces can provide for themselves, outsourcing logistical tasks frees up much-needed manpower for actual military duty.

Javier Solana, high representative of the common foreign and security policy, secretary-general of the European Council and subsequently head of the EDA, called for closer cooperation between the private sector and the defense policymakers in order to ensure that such an expansion of outsourcing wouldn't occur at the expense of the forces' ability to react swiftly to emerging threats or humanitarian crises.

Following the EU forces' epic struggle to find the necessary transport and battle helicopters for their mission in Chad, a panel at the conference suggested that transportation, not traditionally an outsourced service, now also be considered for contracts with the private sector.

Solana also reiterated the importance of interoperable equipment between countries.

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