LIW Editorial – Strategy Bridge: Reconsidering Rear Area Security

Mark Gilchrest, an Australian Army officer and Featured Contributor at The Strategy Bridge makes a great point in his article 'Reconsidering Rear Area Security' - it is a mistake to think that the battle ends where the 'rear area' begins. Furthermore, in the non-linear battlefield that we believe we face in the future, planning for… Continue reading LIW Editorial – Strategy Bridge: Reconsidering Rear Area Security

Commercial acumen in the training of the ADF’s logisticians

By Editor. ‘[T]he procurement process itself is a weapon of war no less significant than the guns, the airplanes, and the rockets turned out by the arsenals of democracy.’ I.B. Holley[1] Business and corporate enterprise has always been a partner of the military in peace and war. The relationship goes beyond the development of specific… Continue reading Commercial acumen in the training of the ADF’s logisticians

The strategic logistician and professional possibility

By David Beaumont. As a participant of a recent seminar-base course designed to prepare logistics officers for appointments within strategic and joint agencies and commands in Defence, I was asked to consider what the traits and behaviours of the strategic ‘future logistician’ might be.[1]  The requirements for logisticians operating at the strategic level of defence… Continue reading The strategic logistician and professional possibility

Future Logistician – framing a new approach

Logistics In War

By Major General David Mulhall.

What do we need of our military logisticians in the future?  Or perhaps, what skills, attributes, experiences and education will best prepare logisticians to deliver outcomes in a Joint environment? An environment that is characterised by change; changes in war fighting concepts and capabilities, quantum leaps in our capacity to source and manipulate information, and the possibilities of artificial intelligence to improve our decision-making and management of system performance.

I had the great fortune while visiting the US last September to attend a thought-provoking presentation by the American political scientist, international relations scholar and specialist on 21st century warfare, P.W. Singer.  He posed a number challenging questions that day, but four ideas in particular resonated with me:

  • How do we prepare our logisticians to think about and develop future requirements beyond what we know currently?
  • How do we prepare our logisticians to best enable joint war-fighting in the Digital Age?
  • Our logistics enterprise needs to be relevant today and tomorrow in support of the Joint…

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LIW Editorial – SSI, Strategy Bridge and the quartermasters claim on history

In Military Logistics and Strategic Performance Thomas Kane wrote that the ‘quartermaster’s claim on history may, at its root, lie in the effect of logistics on timing.’[1] Moreover, ‘[t]he longer a nation requires to bring its force to bear, the more time its enemies have to seize whatever objectives they consider desirable.’[2] In other words,… Continue reading LIW Editorial – SSI, Strategy Bridge and the quartermasters claim on history

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

The trust deficit – why do we expect logistics to fail us?

In our most popular post, Australian Army Officer Gabrielle Follett, asked ‘why do we expect logistics to fail us?’. As Gabrielle explains, this is not an issue resident in the relationships between combat commanders and logisticians. Instead, Gabrielle highlights the fear or being without, and the implicit assumption by logisticians that the logistics ‘continuum’ will fail them, as being equal contributors to the problem. Will exercising logistics at a greater depth, or training personnel in a combined arms ‘schoolhouse’ environment be enough to overcome these problems? Perhaps the answer to our issues with trust goes beyond competence and is a consequence of what logistics ‘is’. Battles can be won without artillery or tanks, but deny for whatever reason food, fuel and ammunition and forces will ultimately expire. Risk tolerance is therefore low. Furthermore, as forces naturally exploit their combat capabilities to the limit of their potential – a potential earned in considerable part by logistics – the means of their sustainment are always at a precipice. As Gabrielle points out, it is best that armies exercise well in peacetime to achieve ‘[t]ransparent honesty’ about their limits, being ‘essential to build trust so that when we truly do require lead times or genuinely can’t meet a requirement, our relationship with our dependencies is robust enough to accept that some things truly aren’t possible.’ – Editor.

Logistics In War

By Gabrielle M. Follett.

Trust. The willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability of the ability to monitor or control that other party[1].

In a recent post in ‘From the Green Notebook’ David Beaumont noted that, for the sustainment of decisive action to be effective, logistics must be characterised by ‘trust between commanders, combat forces and logisticians’.  Almost every military logistician – and no doubt the majority of our combat arms brethren – would agree.

If we accept that trust between all parties is essential to effective military logistics, why then do tactical commanders in the Australian Army generally adopt a policy of self-reliance when it comes to combat service support? At every level of the Combat Brigade supply chain – from…

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Huston’s sixteen principles: assessing operational performance during Op Desert Storm

By Chris Paparone. This article is interesting not only for its historical value, but in the way Chris Paparone utilised the sixteen principles of logistics derived from the classic American history of Army logistics, Dr James Huston's The Sinews of War: Army Logistics 1775-1953. The book was written soon after the conclusion of the Korean War… Continue reading Huston’s sixteen principles: assessing operational performance during Op Desert Storm

Problems with preparedness – why we always seem logistically unprepared for war

By David Beaumont. ‘Logistics readiness’ is at the heart of military preparations for the unforeseen, especially for those militaries who consider themselves to be ‘expeditionary’ in nature. The six characteristics of logistics readiness – mutual understanding between commanders and their logisticians, the balance between logistics and combat resources and elements, logistics plans and policies, logistics… Continue reading Problems with preparedness – why we always seem logistically unprepared for war

Speed, distance and adaptive distribution – the rise of the logistics UAV

By Jason Sibley. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) continues to become more common.  We are all familiar with the military use of UAV’s, and their indispensable role  in performing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, command and control nodes, force protection and ordnance delivery without the need for the deployment of troops on… Continue reading Speed, distance and adaptive distribution – the rise of the logistics UAV