“Transforming those force projection and sustainment processes cannot be done without competent and dedicated military and civil service logisticians to manage the changes and the processes. DoD must help them develop the new skill sets in performance-based service contracting and contract oversight, change management, knowledge management, and financial resource management, and the new technical skills that the new process designs require. They will continue to need the operational logistics skills developed and honed through the last several decades of experience in campaign support. Much of what this book discusses demands leadership skills—the ability to inspire colleagues, contractors, and customers to continuously improve their processes. It’s a tall order.”
– General William G.T. Tuttle Jr., US Army (ret.), 2005
After one’s career as a military logistician, particularly for those few who might reach the highest echelons of the military such as General Tuttle, most will have traversed a path that began with logistic delivery at units focussed upon the forward edge of the battle area, to positions of direct relevance to the development and sustainment of entire militaries. Unlike few others in military Services, or civil or public servants in government departments, the logistician will be expected to have experienced positions which span the full reach of Defence organisations and incorporate a variety of military, government, civilian and industrial influences. From the basis of technical skills developed at the earliest stages of a career, to the broad perspective necessary for performance at the strategic-level of war, the professional developmental needs of the logistician are great.
Virtually every major work on military logistics includes a portion, whether it be a single chapter as seen in Tuttle’s work or a whole part as in Colonel Thorpe’s Pure Logistics, that argues for a new approach to develop the logistician. The fact that the ‘Future Logistician’ is examined so frequently in these books suggests militaries and Defence departments have had difficulties developing staff with this vision in mind! Each title addresses the topic of the logistician as a need to balance service delivery (the sustainment of combat power) with need to manage the supply of resources; the engagement with industry and other agencies that resource the logistic process. Preparing both the military and civil or public service logistician for roles within this ‘balance’ of periodically competing forces, however, is essential for logistic efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to war. Accordingly, it is a topic which captures the attention of senior military logistic leadership on a frequent basis.
In recent years, particularly at the strategic level of Defence organisations, logistic commanders have produced asked what skills, requirements and traits reflect the ‘future logistician’. As an example, the Australian Defence Force has recently identified the importance of appropriately prepared military and civilian logisticians through documents such as Joint Logistic Command’s ‘Future Joint Logistic Concept’ and the ‘Defence Logistic Enterprise Strategy’. However, this is a discussion relevant to logisticians within the different Services, civil or public servants in various departments and agencies, and a variety of areas involved in logistic service delivery. This includes the most important logisticians of all – those fighting to sustain the combat forces at the front line, on the sea or in the air.
With this in mind, ‘Logistics In War’ seeks your contributions in a series – to be published in early May – exploring the ‘Future Logistician’. This topic is generally pitched at the development of logisticians who will be responsible for the strategic levels of militaries. However, this series will examine what it may mean for all Services and branches of militaries, civil or public servants, and anyone involved in the logistic process from the tactical to strategic levels of war, joint agencies and leaders in acquisition. Furthermore, it hopes to gain a perspective from the technical masters of logistics – the non-commissioned ranks. It also aims to provide posts from, and relevant to, the broad range of militaries whose members read ‘Logistics In War’. The series hopes to include posts from the outside looking in; from academia, industry and contractors supporting militaries in service delivery. In simpler terms – if you have a view on what the ‘Future Logistician’ should be, we’ll be happy to take your opinion and give it a voice!
Topic areas may include, but are not limited to:
- Professional military education as it applies to military logisticians (both officer and non-commissioned personnel) from the tactical to strategic levels in different militaries.
- Experiences regarding the professionalisation of logisticians.
- Preparing civil and public servants for their appointments.
- What might industry or academia offer to better prepare the logistician?
- The skills and traits relevant to the ‘Future Logistician’.
- Retaining and developing the right personnel for the right appointments.
- Preparing the senior leaders of logistics organisations.
- What must change, and what must stay the same.
This series will comprise a selection of posts, and if you feel you would like to contribute in this way please refer to this link regarding the general requirements of ‘Logistics In War’ posts. If you feel you would like to contribute your opinion but not write a full post, you can email email@example.com with your views; like themes and useful comments will be published in a compendium post or article.
Please provide any submissions by 30 April 2017, and please send us an email in advance of your intention to write.
In order to provide ‘food for thought’, it is worth concluding with a quote from Rear Admiral Henry Eccles which describes a need of the ‘man (or woman) for the task’ in leading military logistics:
“…. It is vital to establish common objectives, to recognise the problems and their relationships, to identify and provide a free flow of information to those responsible for the management of these problems. It is essential to educate men (and women) of ability in these responsibilities and to assign them to controlling positions. And, above all, it is vital to develop mutual confidence and loyalty to those professional ideals which more than any technology or weapons will determine the quality of our national military security.”
Thanks for your interest in advance, and please share this ‘call’ to ensure potential contributors are aware.
 General William G.T. Tuttle Jr., US Army (ret.), Defense logistics for the 21st century, Naval Institute Press, USA, 2005, p 431
 While both documents are unclassified, they are official and thus located on ADF information networks.
 Rear Admiral H. Eccles, US Navy, Logistics in the national defense, Stackpole Company, USA, 1959, p 322 taff