Host Nation Support
The Bundeswehr acts as a host for military personnel from other nations when transiting through Germany or with regard to the organisation of stopovers in Germany. Such advice, organisational measures and personnel support with the aim to assist partners from other countries with their projects are summed up under the term host nation support.
Host Nation Support – The Bundeswehr as the Host
What is host nation support?
Host nation support entails providing support to foreign armed forces in Germany. This, for example, ranges from planning and approving transit through German roads or waters to the provision of accommodation or refuelling points at Bundeswehr garrisons. Essentially any foreign armed forces that want to come to German may request host nation support.
Most requests come from Germany’s allies in the European Union and NATO. In the scope of the National Territorial Commanders Committee, moreover, the Bundeswehr works together with the points of contacts for host nation support from 25 European nations and the USA. They equally act as the points of contact for the Bundeswehr regarding the movement of German military personnel abroad.
Host nation support is subject to a charge. That means that a record is made of all the services provided, which are then invoiced to the requesting nation by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Infrastructure, Environmental Protection and Services. But here too, there are exceptions. However, these are subject to contractual agreement.
How does a country request host nation support?
Whenever foreign armed forces wish to move across Germany, they require authorisation. This is provided by the Federal Ministry of Defence. The Federal Ministry of Defence reviews and authorises requests for foreign armed forces to enter and transit through Germany. Where the items carried consist of dangerous goods or hazardous substances, these must be declared.
If support is requested, the Federal Ministry of Defence tasks the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command with coordinating the requested services through the regional territorial commands and other Bundeswehr agencies. As a general rule, host nation support is an ‘optional service’. Hence, there is no entitlement to host nation support. If the Bundeswehr can provide support, it will do so.
What tasks do the regional territorial commands perform in host nation support?
The regional territorial commands act as regional coordinators, because host nation support takes place at the regional and local level. This means that the armed forces in transit generally request the provision of very specific services at very specific places. The responsible regional territorial commands clarify with the appropriate agencies in their area of responsibility whether the support requested can be provided. This information is then conveyed back to the requesting nation.
The provision of support is subject to authorisation by the Bundeswehr Homeland Defence Command. The regional territorial commands are also the point of contact for the civilian actors of the Land for which they are responsible. For example, when the police require support, they contact the responsible regional territorial command through the interior authorities of their Land and request support.