Military


Strategic Reserve Storage Activity Europe
[ex Combat Equipment Group Europe - CEGE]

The Army's Combat Equipment Group-Europe (CEG-E), maintains APS-2 equipment configured to brigade sets in Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. CEG-E also maintains a 155SP Field Artillery battalion set in Norway as part of the NATO Composite Force (NCF), which supports NATO Article V (Common Defense), as well as selected operational projects stocks, which are equipment sets designed to provide unique mission capabilities.

Industrial Operations Command returned to Europe in a major way when it took command of Combat Equipment Group Europe in October 1995. CEGE (pronounced KEG-GEE) was renamed the Strategic Reserve Storage Activity Europe. IOC is Army Material Command's agent for the management of all Army War Reserves and propositioned stocks. Previously, the theater commanders-in-chief managed war reserve material. However, during the Gulf War it was learned that this arrangement allowed little flexibility in the transfer of stocks from one theater to another. Thus, the responsibility of these critical stocks was placed under a single manager - the IOC.

CEGE, headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, was responsible for propositioned stocks, called POMCUS that are configured to unit requirements in NATO's central region. Configuring stocks rather than store 1,000 of this and 100 of that in a warehouse, as is common to stateside depot storage, CEGE stores all the varied equipment needed for a single unit, such as an artillery, battery, in one location. This storage configuration makes it easy for units from the United States to deploy to Europe and draw their equipment.

The drawdown of U.S. forces in Europe reduced CEGE to four brigade sets of materiel. CEGE also reduced the number of locations where POMCUS is stored. When IOC took command of CEGE, it had six Combat equipment Companies in NATO's central region. Those CECs were at four sites in the Netherlands -- Brunssum, Coevorden, Eygelshoven and Vriezenveen -- and two other sites: Bettenbourg, Luxembourg and Zutendaal, Belgium. The four Dutch sites fall under NL-POMS (Propositioned Organizational Materiel Sets). This is a sub-command of the National Command of the Royal Netherlands Army, which performs the POMCUS storage and maintenance effort "on contract" with the U.S. Army. Its "headquarters" is the Management Team at Coevorden. Its workers are Dutch civil servants.

CEGE was also responsible for U.S. equipment stored at a NATO facility in Bardufoss, Norway. Bardufoss, 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, has equipment for one battalion from each of four nations -- Germany, Norway, Canada and the U.S. The U.S. equipment is used by the l/214 Field Artillery battalion, Georgia National Guard. No personnel are assigned there.

Because the European stocks fall under CEGE, Leghorn Depot Activity in Italy became part of CEGE in October 1995. Since accountability for materiel stored in Israel is a Leghorn mission, CEGE added materiel in that nation to its span of control as well. As with the equipment in Norway, there were no plans to permanently station IOC personnel in Israel. Finally, CEGE also stores Air Force equipment on a reimbursable basis at Sanem, Luxembourg, a sub-facility of Bettenbourg. Including Leghorn personnel, CEGE has about 97 military, 50 civilians, 600 local nationals and 1,150 contractor employees. An Army colonel commands it with subordinate commanders at each site.

Combat Equipment Group-Europe (CEG-E) was established in April 1964 as the 7th U.S. Army Combined Arms Maintenance Group. It was renamed the U.S. Army Europe Augmentation Readiness Group in May 1965 and received its current name in October 1970. CEG-E's mission in those days was to store, maintain, and issue equipment to units from the continental United States (CONUS) deploying in support of the European General Defense Plan (GDP). This plan was tested annually during Return of Forces to Germany (REFORGER) exercises.

In the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO's) central region, the Combat Equipment Group Europe (CEGE) was responsible for maintaining and storing what was called "pre-positioning of materiel configured to unit sets," or POMCUS. Rather than store 1,000 of this and 100 of that in a warehouse, as is common practice in depot storage, CEGE stored in one location all the equipment that a unit, such as an artillery battery, would need. That storage method made it easy for units from the United States to deploy to Europe and then draw their equipment. POMCUS was a key feature of the Reforger (return of forces to Germany) exercises. What was formerly war reserves and POMCUS stocks are now combined into AWR stocks.

In REFORGER, forces deployed from CONUS to CEG-E sites, where they drew their forward-deployed equipment, called pre-positioned organizational materiel configured to unit sets (POMCUS). Units would train in their GDP locations or in other exercises and return the equipment to CEG-E sites, called combat equipment companies, where the equipment was maintained and stored for the next REFORGER exercise or the next implementation of the GDP. U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and the 21st Support Command (now the 21st Theater Support Command) provided command and control of CEG-E and its POMCUS assets.

At the conclusion of the Cold War, CEG-E's mission changed drastically as the Army transitioned to a primarily CONUS-based power projection strategy. Many of the POMCUS sets in CEG-E were disassembled, and much of the equipment from inactivated units in USAREUR was sent to CEG-E. POMCUS became known as Army Pre-positioned Stocks (APS). Excess equipment was upgraded to like-new condition for redistribution to APS sites worldwide. CEG-E retained three generic brigade sets that no longer were aligned with specific units.

As a result of the Army's transition to a power projection force, control of CEG-E was transferred from USAREUR to the Army Materiel Command (AMC) in 1995. As an AMC organization, CEG-E adopted the automated logistics systems used by the Army's wholesale system, providing the same advantages of worldwide visibility available to stateside depots. At the time of this reorganization, CEG-E consisted of a group headquarters, seven combat equipment companies responsible for ammunition stocks, and an Army war reserve storage facility for the NATO Composite Force.

CEG-E had it's headquarters located in Kerkrade, The Netherlands, with three Combat Equipment Battalions (CEBs) and seven Combat Equipment Companies (CEC sites). The CEBs were located in Livorno, Italy; Bettembourg, Luxembourg; and Coevorden, The Netherlands. The CEC sites were located in Livorno, Italy; Bettembourg, Luxembourg; Zutendaal, Belgium; and Bunssum, Coevorden, Eygleshoven and Vriezenveen, The Netherlands.

CEG-E assets were removed from the control of the theater commander and placed under Department of the Army control. In turn, AMC delegated responsibility for CEG-E to the Industrial Operations Command (now the Operations Support Command).

As US forces in Europe drew down, CEGE reduced its stockage to four brigade sets of materiel. It also reduced the number of storage locations for AWR materiel. In NATO's central region, six combat equipment companies (CEC's) maintain and store the materiel. Two sites were closed in fiscal year (FY) '93, three in FY '94, and seven in FY '95. Two of the four combat equipment battalions were also inactivated. The 16th Combat Equipment Company, Zutendaal, Belgium; the 20th Combat Equipment Company, Coevorden, The Netherlands; the 22d Combat Equipment Company, Eygelshoven, The Netherlands; and the Combat Equipment Battalion-Northwest, in Coevorden, were inactivated in 1999.

The remaining CEC's are at four sites in the Netherlands -- Brunssum, Coevorden, Eygelshoven, and Vriezenveen -- with the other two at Bettenbourg, Luxembourg, and Zutendaal, Belgium. The Dutch sites are under the Netherlands Pre-positioned Organizational Materiel Sets, a subcommand of the National Command of the Royal Netherlands Army; and storage and maintenance functions are performed "on contract" with the U.S. Army at those sites. The organization is managed by the management team at Coevorden; and its workers are Dutch civil servants. The U.S. commander at each site acts as a contracting officer's representative.

CEGE moved its headquarters from Mannheim, Germany, to the Netherlands. This was in line with the consolidation of AWR stocks in the three Low Countries. Worldwide, the AWR stocks are managed by the IOC's Deputy Chief of Staff for War Reserves.



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