On October 19, 2023, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to inaugurate the expansion of the Warehouses Service Agency (WSA) complex in Sanem, which is already the U.S. Air Forces in Europe's (USAFE) largest depot on the continent.
The U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, Tom Barrett, underscored the importance of the expansion project: "This 100 million dollars in investment made here in Luxembourg is another demonstration of the U.S. commitment to European defense and to the NATO Alliance. This expansion project is part of our response to the rapidly evolving security context, which necessitates that all Allies continue to invest in modernizing our common defense and deterrence.”
Minister of Defense, François Bausch, emphasized: "Luxembourg and the U.S. share a long history of bilateral cooperation. With this new project, we keep the momentum alive. Authorities from the U.S., Luxembourg and the management of WSA have been working together over the last couple of years to make this extension project happen. This significant investment by the U.S. is proof and recognition that WSA is providing excellent services to USAFE. It echoes the continued commitment of the United States in Europe and in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.”
"This project will expand the already robust capabilities here at Sanem and bring increased capability and deterrence to protect our shared interests in Europe. As United States Air Forces in Europe evolves to meet current and future threats, this site represents the strong collaboration between the United States and the Government of Luxembourg, and I want to thank all the stakeholders from both governments that made today's groundbreaking event possible," commented Colonel Vinson, Logistics Readiness Division Chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Headquarters.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District is managing the construction in coordination with the WSA and the Luxembourg Directorate of Defense. "This is the first project of this scale for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here in Luxembourg and we're excited to be working with our U.S. Air Force, U.S. Embassy and Luxembourg host nation partners on this impressive project,” said Europe District Deputy Chief of Engineering and Construction, Cheryl Fromme, while in Luxembourg for the ceremony. "Though it's a newer location for us here, the mission is the same one that we're proud to contribute to with our projects across Europe – supporting regional security by delivering facilities that enable U.S. forces and our allies and partners.”
The Warehouses Service Agency
The Warehouses Service Agency (WSA) was established and designated by the government of Luxembourg to perform the services set forth in a memorandum of understanding between Luxembourg and the United States dating back to December 1978. The WSA is mandated, by decision of the Government in Council of June 13, 1980 and November 6, 1981, to act in the name and on behalf of the State vis-à-vis NATO, the U.S. Army or any other military or civil authority. Since 1994, the Sanem site has been used for storing U.S. Air Force equipment.
Located in the city of Sanem, Luxembourg, the facility provides warehousing, logistical support and maintenance services for military equipment, goods and merchandise and works in close partnership with the 86th Materiel Maintenance Squadron of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). The facility houses USAFE's War Reserve Materiel (WRM), which includes vehicles, aerospace ground equipment, aircraft support equipment and various airfield support equipment. However, no weapons nor munitions are stored at Sanem.
WSA maintains, reconstitutes, and stores WRM in a posture to rapidly deploy worldwide within 24 hours for any contingency. In 2020, responding to a request by the Government of Luxembourg, the U.S. Air Force provided power generators and refrigeration units from the WSA facility to the Luxembourg Army to support Luxembourg's temporary field hospitals in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
The WSA facility provides over 200 jobs to the Sanem and Luxembourg community and contributes to local hospitality economy with large numbers of regular U.S. and NATO military visitors to the site.
Deployable Air Base System – Facilities Equipment Vehicles (DABS-FEV) Support and Storage Facilities Project
The support and storage facilities project enhances the U.S. Air Force's Deployable Air Base System, a concept which allows a collection of shelters, vehicles, construction equipment and other gear to be pre-positioned and moved to any place the Air Force needs to stand up air operations.
The Deployable Air Base System Support and Storage Facilities project will add more than 200,000 square feet of additional storage and maintenance facilities to the WSA. This includes:
- More than 171,000 square feet of humidity-controlled warehouse space.
- more than 27,000 square feet of additional warehouse and equipment storage space,
- more than 5,000 square feet of maintenance and refueling space,
- and other significant infrastructure improvements to support interoperability with the existing facility.
The European Deterrence Initiative
This expansion project is funded through the European Deterrence Initiative. The United States established the European Deterrence Initiative in June 2014 after Russia invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea. The initiative was established to enhance the capability and readiness of U.S. Forces, NATO allies, and regional partners in Europe to deter Russian aggression.