‘CoveTalk’ – logistics, Army and the future of war

By David Beaumont.

I was privileged to have been asked by those behind the Australian Army’s professional military education site, The Cove, to present a webinar last week. This presentation, titled ‘The way we sustain: logistics, Army and the future of war’, proved less about the future, and more about the timeless links between logistics and strategy, and logistics and command.

The synopsis of the talk is:

Experienced soldiers agree that logistics ranks as one of the most crucial elements contributing to military success. The Army’s ‘logistics readiness’ shapes and defines its combat potential, as well as its performance during operations. However, while we acknowledge that logistics is important, few consider it as an aspect of effective command. Logistics is about winning battles and wars by assuring the existence of combat power, and underpins much a commander must consider when making strategic and tactical decisions. It is therefore important that as we reinvest in our understanding of strategy and tactics, we also address logistics and the practicalities of war.

After introducing the topic, the presentation will examine logistics in the ADF – the way we sustain joint land force operations. Both historic preferences and broad operational lessons will be raised, as well as the dual requirements of Army logistics. These requirements, often thought of as a false dichotomy, are described as ‘the logistics of coalition participation’ and ‘the logistics of coalition leadership’.  Finally, the discussion will place the way in which we sustain in the context of the future war on land as imagined in recent discussions both in Australia and abroad. The talk will conclude with a case for transforming Army logistics to address these new challenges, support the modernisation of Army and to elevate its relevance as a topic for every Army commander and leader.

The full webinar can be found here.

You might also note the topic addresses a similar topic to the primer, Logistics and the art of command. The primer provides a more detailed analysis of the first portion of the webinar, dealing specifically with the the difficult issue of human behaviour and how it influences the logistics process.

Continue the discussion here!

David Beaumont is a serving Australian Army officer. The thoughts here are his own.


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