NSPA Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Last update: 14 October 2020
The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) is playing a crucial role supporting NATO, its Allied and Partner nations in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NSPA has provided strategic airlift capabilities and managed key relief acquisition and transport for urgent medical supplies and equipment. In addition, NSPA has provided rapidly accessible infrastructure to augment national medical capabilities and it has engaged in innovative projects in support of health workers.
At the beginning of the crisis, NSPA set up the COVID-19 Management Office (CMO) to respond to the nations' unprecedented demand for supplies, equipment and services in the medical field. The CMO includes technical specialists, experts in the field of biomedical engineering, medicine and pharmacy, supported by professionals in operational logistics and procurement.
The CMO also provides support to military contingents in out-of-area operations and collaborates with NATO entities, particularly with the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC).
Strategic Airlift Capabilities
Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS)
SALIS is a multinational programme, managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), providing the nine NATO participating nations with assured access to strategic transport aircraft for outsized cargo. Five NATO nations have used their flying hour quota to airlift urgent medical protective equipment to tackle coronavirus crisis for a total of:
- 17 missions
- 468 flying hours
- 950 tonnes of medical supplies
Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC)
The Strategic Airlift Capability provides assured access to strategic military airlift capability for its 12 member nations, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United States. NSPA manages the full life cycle management of the three C-17 aircraft stationed at Pápa Airbase, including acquisition and sustainment. In total, the SAC delivered:
- 6 missions
- 415 flying hours
- 217 tonnes of medical supplies
COVID-19 testing labs for NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) & Kosovo Force (KFOR)
In May 2020, NSPA delivered a COVID-19 testing laboratory, together with three laboratory technicians, to increase the testing capacity of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission service members. The same type of capability was delivered to Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission in September 2020.
The delivered laboratories enable to conduct quick virus detection to limit the spread of the virus and contribute to the necessary protection of all service members deployed in the region.
Key COVID-19 acquisition and transport for NATO Allies
The current disruptions on health supply chains, competitive high demand and restrictions in the transportation domain, are posing challenges to nations for much-needed medical supplies and equipment.
For this reason, many NATO nations have entrusted NSPA to manage the acquisition and transport (air, sea, rail) on their behalf, benefiting from logistic advantages and economies of scale. Nations can request material through two NSPA mechanisms: the NATO Logistics Stock Exchange (NLSE), or through the Random Brokerage Services (RBS).
The NLSE is a cooperative logistics tool developed by NSPA to assist nations and suppliers on acquisition and management of supplies. While RBS enables NATO Allies and Partners to acquire individual or specific sets of items of services, "random" depicts the infinite type of supplies and equipment that can be acquired.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak:
- 14 chartered flights
- 13 nations have benefited from this mechanism
- 161 MEUR of protective medical supplies ordered (NLSE)
- 1,376 MEUR through RBS (PPE ventilators and ambulances)
NATO has developed a number of partnership tools and mechanisms to support cooperation with partner countries. Amongst the tools developed, the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Policy enables individual Allies and partners to support security and defence-related projects to build capabilities in partner countries through individual Trust Funds.
In the frame of COVID-19, a new Pandemic Response Trust Fund policy has been implemented. The Agency received formal taskers by means of the executing Management Administrative Arrangements supporting Partner Nations with medical supplies. The Agency stands ready to deliver its services for acquisition, reception, (temporary) storage and distribution of COVID-19 items.
Mobile Infrastructure e.g. Field Hospitals
In March, NSPA, through its Southern Operational Centre (SOC), prepared and coordinated the transport and construction of a field hospital with capacity for 200 additional beds to augment the civilian hospital capability in Luxembourg.
Additionally, NSPA will deliver deployable medical facilities to Italy, of which the first one by the end of 2020.