NATO Opens First Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI) Location in Estonia
NATO Opens First Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI) Location in Estonia

NATO Opens First Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI) Location in Estonia

The Chiefs of Defence of Belgium and Estonia formally opened the first Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI) location in Estonia. Other Allies are also expected to use the warehouse for storing their munitions in the context of their enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) contributions. The MAWI location in Estonia will save resources and prevent logistical problems by eliminating the need for unnecessarily rotating munitions stockpiles in conjunction with the various deployment cycles. Additional MAWI locations in support of the eFP as well as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) could be opened to further strengthen NATO’s battle groups. The long-term ambition is that the MAWI high-visibility project will change the way NATO Allies and partners go about the storing and distribution of munition stockpiles.

The Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI) is a High Visibility Project intended to provide its participants with a scalable, expandable and flexible solution for multinationally stockpiling munitions. This initiative is particularly relevant within the context of NATO’s three existing battle decisive munitions (BDM) High Visibility Projects. Based on a Belgian initiative, a group of Allies and partners thoroughly explored the feasibility and practicalities associated with creating various types of multinational solutions for warehousing munitions underneath a single set of operational principles. The MAWI framework was then formally established through the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by participants’ Defence Ministers in the margins of the NATO Summit in June 2021.

A total of eight European Nato-member countries have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that seeks to reshape the logistical processes for ammunitions. The participating nations are Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia and Spain. The initiative focuses on flexibility and adaptability and will enable the creation of temporary storage facilities in support of Nato deployments. These steps are expected to reduce deployment costs. Under the new Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI), the eight nations will work to devise a single set of principles to modernize the storage, provision and management of ammunition stockpiles in various multinational warehouse locations. The first MAWI location is expected to become operational before the end of this year with several others to follow.

As part of NATO’s strengthened deterrence and defence posture, Allies agreed at the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw to establish an enhanced forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. Fully deployed by July 2017, NATO’s enhanced forward presence comprises four multinational battalion-size battlegroups, provided by framework nations and other contributing Allies on a voluntary, fully sustainable and rotational basis. Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States are the framework nations for the robust NATO presence in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland respectively. Albania, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain contribute to the Canadian-led battlegroup in Latvia; Belgium, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway provide contributions to the German-led battlegroup in Lithuania; Denmark, France and Iceland contribute to the UK-led battlegroup in Estonia; and Croatia, Romania and the United Kingdom are part of the US-led battlegroup in Poland.