In a keynote speech, Stacy Cummings, General Manager of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), outlined the agency’s strategic initiatives to enhance defence capabilities and industrial capacity across Nato and the EU, emphasising multinational cooperation and support for Ukraine.

Highlighting the increasing demand for defence systems, Cummings underscored NSPA’s commitment to multinational cooperation and efficient procurement processes.

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NSPA’s initiatives

“Nice to be here at such a pivotal moment in the alliance and Europe’s history. I want to talk to you about how NSPA supports nations in building national and collective defence industrial capacity,” Cummings began. She highlighted NSPA’s portfolio, which includes acquiring complex platforms such as aircraft, helicopters, and autonomous systems and providing supplies and services like fuel, ammunition, and medical equipment.

For example, on June 17th 2024, Nato launched a €600m ($642m) upgrade programme for up to 200 NH90 helicopters, marking an advancement for the platform nearing its 20-year milestone since entering service in 2007. This initiative aims to modernise the NH90 fleet used by various Nato countries.

In 2023, NSPA executed contracts worth €10.6bn, a significant increase from €4.8bn in 2022, reflecting the demand for defence activities. As a customer-funded agency operating on a no-profit, no-loss basis, NSPA emphasises transparency, an essential principle in its relationship with industry partners.

Support for Ukraine

Cummings detailed NSPA’s ongoing support for Ukraine, which has provided logistical assistance since Russia’s invasion began two years ago. “We have been providing fuel, medical equipment, vehicles, and winter clothing,” she noted. In April, NSPA hosted the first NATO-Ukraine Strategic Defence Procurement Review, which aimed to modernise Ukraine’s defence procurement processes.

Amid the global supply chain challenges, NSPA’s role in consolidating requirements and promoting interoperability has become increasingly important. “NATO nations need to address pressing challenges in the armament sector, notably increasing defence production capacity and interoperability,” Cummings stressed. She announced the operationalisation of NSPA’s new acquisition directorate, which is designed to oversee major acquisition programmes with a focus on commonality and standardisation.

Cummings also introduced the NATO Production Action Plan, established at the NATO Summit in Vilnius, to aggregate demand, address industrial challenges, and increase interoperability. “NSPA plays a pivotal role in consolidating national requirements into multi-year multinational procurement frameworks,” she explained, highlighting recent multinational contracts for ammunition worth more than €10bn.

The NATO Vilnius 2023 summit concluded with notable outcomes: Ukraine received enhanced military support from NATO members, including Germany and France, though Nato deferred setting a timeline for Ukraine’s membership until after the Russo-Ukrainian conflict concludes.

Impact and achievements

Highlighting NSPA’s procurement process, Cummings provided practical information for businesses seeking to engage with the agency. She emphasised the importance of transparency and competition, noting that all procurement opportunities are published on NSPA’s website. “Prospective bidders must be registered in the NSPA source file to be eligible for contract awards,” she added, encouraging companies from Nato and partner nations to register.

Nato Support and Procurement Agency 2023 achievements, as highlighted by Stacy Cummings. Source: Harry McNeil

NSPA’s frameworks have proven effective in delivering savings and fostering multinational cooperation. In 2023 alone, NSPA delivered more than 233 million (m) litres of fuel, served more than 4m meals, and transported 24,000 tons of equipment. Additionally, NSPA’s airlift capabilities and temporary infrastructure projects have supported Nato missions and disaster relief efforts.

Concluding her speech, Cummings reiterated NSPA’s commitment to driving industrial capacity enhancement initiatives through multinational collaboration. “No single country can face our current global challenges alone. By pooling and sharing resources, we achieve more efficient, cost-effective solutions for defence,” she asserted.