A Logistics in War Primer: how we make a sustainable and balanced military force

‘[N]o distinction in importance can be made between combat functions and logistics functions’ and that ‘no distinction should be drawn …. in establishing priorities (between them).’

In ‘The Arm behind the Spear’, the first Logistics In War Primer, David Beaumont presents an introduction to logistics in force design, including the ‘tooth to tail ratio’, and two cases which highlight challenges in achieving a balanced force. The first, logistics force development in the Australian Army, highlights the impact of organisational change on the achievement of a logistically balanced force. The second, the US Army’s raising and trialling of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team  during the early 2000’s, outlines the impact of a divergence between logistics concepts during force design and the actual employment of the capability. These cases may be familiar to regular LIW readers; however, this primer provides a concise general summary and broad considerations in an easy to read format.

From the introduction:

This primer will firstly describe why logistics matters in force design, and why logistics capabilities are essential for a balanced force. It will next investigate balance through an abstract measure – the ‘tooth to tail ratio’ (T3R). The T3R can be a misused measurement, but can be used to highlight trends in the force structure of militaries. The primer will then move onto two cases in force design. The first, concerning logistics development within the Australian Army over the last fifteen years, highlights the costs of rapid organisational change to optimising logistics forces. The second, an outline of the US Army’s raising of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team capability, shows how overly optimistic beliefs on logistics capacity and capability creates an unbalanced force.

The primer can be found here.

This primer is trialling a new format which may complement other LIW articles in the future. Your thoughts to improving the content in Logistics In War is vital to its continued success. Please send any feedback to logisticsinwar@outlook.com  


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