Quadrilateral Logistics Forum (J4)
1. The Quadrilateral Logistics Forum, hereafter referred to as the QLF, is the combined initiative of the heads of joint logistics of its member nations from Australia (AUS), Canada (CAN), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA). The shared intent of the QLF is to identify logistics issues impacting our nations and accelerate the development of shared solutions. The QLF is focused on issues impacting logistic support to operations; and therefore have a high priority for resolution. The QLF will address multinational interoperability issues by focusing its efforts towards common solutions to shared problems.
2. The ongoing work of the QLF represents a determination to resolve the logistics issues that repeatedly challenge operational staffs. By harmonising the efforts of the participating nations, other agencies and non-governmental organisations, the QLF seeks to enhance combat effectiveness and improve operational efficiency. Joint Logistics Staffs and Logistics Program Managers will be challenged to demonstrate that their efforts are properly coordinated in pursuit of the shared goals in support of coalition forces, the host nation and/or lead nation.
3. The QLF was established in May 2004 to accelerate resolution of key logistics issues impacting the military forces of the QLF member nations (Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the United States). The senior logisticians of each member nation (the QLF Principals) agreed that better harmonisation of national activities was needed to produce more effective solutions to multinational logistics problems. Given the broad range of logistics issues under discussion, it was agreed that the QLF would focus on a small number of high-priority areas, which could directly improve logistics support to military operations. The QLF Principals agreed to optimise QLF logistics capabilities by improving the interoperability and efficiency of their respective Nation’s logistics forces when operating in a multinational coalition or NATO context.
4. The four Principals are:
5. The Principals highlighted that the adoption of solutions by the QLF nations in isolation would most likely be counter-productive, therefore, the QLF will seek opportunities to exploit initiatives and influence other logistics fora such as the NATO Logistics Committee (LC), the Pacific Area Senior Officers Logistics Seminar (PASOLS), the US Conference of Logistics Directors (COLD), the United Nations (UN) and the Group of Seven (G7). This influence will be through the sharing of ideas, initiatives and products with the ultimate aim of acceptance and transition into other organisations, most notably NATO.
6. To help execute direction from the QLF principals, it was agreed that the officers of the Multinational Office (MNO) of the US Joint Chief of Staff Director of Logistics (JS-J4) would be used as the coordinating agency for the QLF. The MNO staff are the primary action officers for QLF business and will communicate the intentions of the QLF, coordinate the management of QLF issues through the QLF Strategic Plan and monitor and report progress.
7. The purpose of the QLF is to identify and prioritise interoperability issues and accelerate the development of shared logistic solutions that will enhance combat effectiveness, improve operational efficiency and ultimately influence the integration of solutions and practices with other multinational fora. The QLF maintains an open and enduring logistics partnership, which in turn aims to enhance National and collective logistic capabilities. It seeks to influence the logistic cooperation and development of other nations as well as logistic programs within NATO and other Defence partnerships. In doing so, the QLF will leverage logistic cooperation towards the building of broader global defence cooperation. It will achieve these outcomes by communicating agreed positions on key logistics issues, directly engaging with established multinational logistic committees and other bodies and informing the future logistic plans and programs of QLF nations.
PRINCIPLES OF QLF ENGAGEMENT
8. To guide future focus areas the following model has been developed that describes the five key activity domains of QLF work:
a. Information Sharing: The QLF Principals agree, within the caveats of respective National security considerations, to proactively share information that may be of utility to each Nation’s logistics programs. Examples include, best practice, operational Lessons Identified (LIs) and Lessons Learned (LLs), innovative technical solutions and strategic issues that may be of interest or benefit to other Members.
b. Collective Logistics: QLF outputs should support a doctrine of collective logistics, both from a Quadrilateral perspective and in support of the NATO Logistic Vision and Objectives work. An example within the NATO context includes direct support to the development and delivery of the Joint Logistic Support Group (JLSG) and the Multinational Logistic Coordination Center (MLCC) capabilities.
c. Cooperation and Collaboration: The QLF should seek opportunities to deliver logistics effects in a cooperative way, in peace and on operations, in order to improve operational agility, readiness and sustainability (preparedness) where it is cost-effective. Although the QLF is not a NATO forum, all QLF Nations have a relationship with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA), which forms a central tenet of the shared imperative for cost efficiencies through the coordination and execution of contracted support solutions
d. Influence Partners: The QLF, as a single group, should seek to influence other Nations and organisations, in order to further enhance interoperability. This includes engagement with NATO (and support to the G7) and developing strong relationships with those multinational fora who have an interest in military logistics. The QLF is uniquely placed to shape NATO planning, as the NATO logistic community is one of the most advanced in terms of cooperation and interoperability.
e. Support to Operations: As its top priority, the QLF will seek to assist with harmonising logistics in support of current and emerging multinational operations. Equally, the QLF should continue to play a central role in developing future operating concepts and doctrine for multinational logistics, both to inform NATO logistic development as well as QLF National logistic programs.
9. Each of the 5 domains provide a defined focus for QLF activity but all contribute directly or indirectly to the delivery of timely and effective logistic support solutions on operations. For the duration of this QLF Plan (2014-2018), the five domain areas are further supported by a number of focal areas (see Annex A). The priority of each of these focal areas will be agreed by the Principals annually, who will receive recommendations from the MNO at the QLF meetings.
QLF STRUCTURE & METHODOLOGY
10. Organisation. The QLF represents the formal interface of each Member Nation’s joint logistics capability and comprises the Principals of each Member Nation (2* and 3* proponents for joint logistics from each nation), supported by the Multinational Office of the US Joint Staff Multinational Interagency Division:
a. QLF Principals: The QLF comprises the Australian Commander Joint Logistics (CJLOG), the Deputy Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC), the United Kingdom’s Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Logistics Operations (ACDS Log Ops) and the United States Joint Staff, Director for Logistics (DJ4).
b. Multinational Office (MNO): The MNO consists of an O5/6 from each Member Nation and coordinates the execution of the QLF Principals’ strategic guidance and direction. While each member of the MNO remains responsible to their National Principal, they work collectively to deliver QLF agreed outcomes. The MNO is based within the J4 Directorate in the Pentagon, Washington, DC.
11. Scope of Work. QLF activity is not limited in its design or scope and remains entirely flexible to and responsive to the QLF Principals’ intent. Typically, those activities fall into one of the following categories:
a. QLF Projects: Formally designated projects or other defined work that sits within the QLF Strategic Plan.
b. MN Logistic Engagement: Preparation for QLF Principal engagement with programmed committees and conferences, including the NATO Logistics Committee (and supporting sub-committees) , the G7, the Joint Supply Chain Forum (JSCF), the Pacific Area Senior Officer Logistics Seminar (PASOLS), the Five-Powers Defence Arrangement (FPDA), the Conference of Inter American Logistics (CILog) and the biannual QLF meetings. Note that not all QLF Nations are necessarily represented within each of the fora listed above, but the outputs of those engagements are routinely shared with other QLF Member Nations. The QLF provides an opportunity to align National perspectives and agree, where appropriate, a shared position on an issue before wider discussions with other Nations and organisations .
c. National Requirements: The MNO staff routinely staff National issues and requests for information (RFI) that have significance for other QLF Member Nations.
NATO VISION & OBJECTIVES
12. Previously, the QLF Campaign Plan programs QLF Projects against five Lines of Development, which directly relate to the current NATO Logistic Vision & Objectives, namely:
a. Optimise Logistics C2,
b. Improve Deployability,
c. Enhance Sustainability,
d. Provide more Capable and Interoperable Logistic Force Elements, and
e. Ensure Effective and Efficient Support to Operations.
13. Whilst the QLF Campaign Plan has been replaced by this Strategic Plan, when considering future work using the QLF Activity Domains, the Principals and the MNO should remain cognisant of aligning QLF priorities with the NATO V&O when prudent to do so.
QLF ACTIVITY MANAGEMENT AND COORDINATION
14. QLF Scheduled Meetings.
a. General: The QLF National Principals and the MNO officers will normally meet twice annually. The main QLF meeting is held in February and is hosted by each Nation on a rotational basis. A second, supplementary QLF meeting is held in conjunction with the US-hosted Conference of Logistics Directors (COLD) meeting, usually held each October. It should be noted bilateral logistics talks will normally be scheduled during the QLF meeting.
b. Key Deliverables: QLF meetings are programmed to directly precede the NATO LC meetings (in Feb/Oct each year). The October QLF meeting also coincides with the US COLD meeting. Consequently, the QLF meetings allow Nations to formulate an agreed position on key NATO issues (where appropriate) and also discuss engagement with the other three G7 Nations. These "shaping" discussions are a critical aspect of the QLF relationship but it is also important to note that the QLF is not purely focused on NATO issues.
c. Annual Timetable: A diagram showing the annual timings for QLF, LC and COLD meetings is at Annex B.
15. G7 Engagement. The QLF Members recognise the importance of relationships that exist with France, Germany and Italy, both from a bilateral and collective standpoint. An informal Group of Seven (G7) construct has been created following the demise of the Logistic Multinational Interoperability Working Group (Log MIWG ).
QLF PLANNING & PROJECT MANAGEMENT
16. QLF Strategic Plan. A designated officer within the MNO is responsible for the maintenance of this QLF Strategic Plan, a rolling document with a four-year horizon. This task rotates amongst the MNOs on an as agreed basis.
17. Current Projects. A summary of past and current QLF projects is held on the QLF website (web address to follow).
18. QLF SOPs. Normal and routine QLF work is outlined in a separate QLF SOP which are reviewed and updated every two years. These SOP are internal housekeeping and remain in the MNO purview.
19. QLF Project Management. QLF Projects are agreed to by QLF Principals and delivered through the QLF MNO. QLF Project requirements and outputs are agreed through consensus by the Principals at QLF meetings. Details of QLF project management are outlined in QLF SOPs.
20. The ongoing work of the QLF represents a determination to harmonise the efforts of the participating nations, other agencies and non-governmental organisations in order to enhance combat effectiveness and improve operational efficiency during multinational operations.
21. This QLF Strategic Plan outlines the purpose, principles of engagement, methodology, model of interoperability, activity management and coordination, planning and project management and current QLF projects for the period 2014-18.