Second group of Ukrainians completes Logistics Operations course

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The graduation of 13 Ukrainian Army officers from the Logistics Operations course  earlier this fall in Starychi, Ukraine, marked continued progress in Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) logistics modernization.

The current rotation of Canadian Armed Forces personnel began delivering logistics modernization training in mid-September with the second serial of the logistics course. The 15-day curriculum encompassed the sustainment planning process in the context of supporting both battalion- and brigade-level operations.

Canadian subject matter experts provided detailed instruction on transportation, supply, and maintenance. The broad range of experience of these experts, which included multiple overseas deployments, served to better illustrate the instructional material.

“Our course had a very good dynamic between the students and instructors; we were always able to have a two-way discussion for a positive learning environment,” said Ukrainian Lieutenant-Colonel Ihor Poliarush, a course student. “By learning the way Canadians do things, we can compare that with our current systems and decide what direction to go as we make reforms into the future.”

This iteration of the course had13 UAF logistics staff officers, ranging in rank from lieutenant to lieutenant-colonel. Such an audience presented opportunities for the trainers to gather lessons learned from Ukrainian operations. The complexities of hybrid warfare present challenges to sustainment both on and off of the area of operations, and the trainers have been quick to capture lessons learned by the Ukrainian Army.

“Somewhat to our surprise, we have discovered many similarities between the Ukrainian sustainment structure and our own,” said Major Geoff Tyrell, the officer commanding Logistics Modernization. “Many of their logistics principles and practices have the same fundamental concepts underlying them; where we differ tends to be in the execution.”

The course falls under the wider Operation UNIFIER initiative of providing logistics modernization training to the UAF. Canada’s contribution to this complex task is aimed at the brigade-level and below, also referred to as “the Last Mile.”

Modernization at the Last Mile is targeted toward two distinct but complementary audiences: the first is Ukrainian brigade logistics staff, with the intent of working towards UAF interoperability with NATO by 2020. The second audience is the instructors of Ukrainian logistics training centres, who contribute to improving both technical and survival skills of Ukrainian Army sustainers at the most junior level.

At the request of the UAF, NATO allies Canada and the United Kingdom are working together to effect both modernization and NATO interoperability within the Ukrainian logistics system.

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