Joint logistics by design – is it time for a permanent joint logistics formation?

By Editor.

Meegan Olding, a serving Australian Army officer writing on the Land Power Forum, contends that emerging requirements are strengthening the case for us to rethink joint logistics and its role in capability development, force generation and its role in the operational area. Contentiously, she also argues that it is time to consider whether logistics formations and functions relevant to theatre entry and tactical force sustainment, currently single-Service responsibilities, should be ‘joint by design’.

This challenging argument posits force efficiency can be improved by reducing duplication and improving coordination. The establishment of joint theatre capabilities would continue the trend by which the joint logistics enterprise is seen to offer considerable command, control and logistics efficiencies currently evident at Defence’s strategic level. Furthermore, with hollowness existing in enabling functions and logistics capabilities in all three Services of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), such a solution sounds promising for force generation reasons, but also with respect to the stewardship  of logistics capability.

The major cost to this approach is recognised as being a loss of control for the Services as ‘domain owners’ and force generators who must accept further risk and trust that the joint logistics system will deliver even more than it does today. Understandably, this makes the option a particularly ‘uncomfortable’ proposition. Perhaps, as suggested, the alternative is to make joint theatre capabilities a responsibility for the Army-led ‘Deployable Joint Force Headquarters’?

The article alludes to one key question worth considering; although logistics interdependence in operations may be best achieved through robust capabilities held by the Services, are such theatre and force sustainment capabilities more effective and easier to generate as part of a joint, tactically-oriented, logistics force?

A strong joint force needs a strong land force, but this should not be at the expense of developing a world class joint logistics system …. The establishment of the ADFHQ provides momentum for the development of a joint enabler capability, however it requires bold decisions, less risk aversion and trust amongst the Services. The time for ‘joint logistics by design’ is now, but is the ADF mature enough to manage the delicate interplay between competition and cooperation?

Enjoy the article – found here.

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