Sunday, December 21, 2008

Logistics As It Applies To The Military

Logistics. Most people don't really even know what it means let alone what's involved. If you look up the definition of logistics in the dictionary you will find the following:

1. The aspect of military operations that deals with the procurement, distribution, maintenance, and replacement of materiel and personnel.

2. The management of the details of an operation.


You have the noun which is...

Handling an operation that involves providing labor and materials be supplied as needed.

So what exactly is involved in doing all that?

A lot.

First we start with design and development. Let's take the military as an example. Suppose the military wants to design new weapons systems that will be more accurate than the systems they currently have. The first thing they have to do is get a team of scientists and whatever other personnel are needed to design the system. Then, after they come up with a design they are pleased with they have to get the engineers to develop it. All these people either have to be hired or contracted. Some of the work may be sub contracted.

Then there is the acquisition of the materials needed. Some of the materials may already be on hand while others have to be purchased. Some will be purchased domestically and others will need to be purchased from overseas. In many cases bids will be put in to various companies to see who can supply the materials at the cheapest cost.

After the materials are acquired there's the matter of storage. In many cases the material is either of so large a quantity or so large in size that the storage facilities need to be specially built in order to adequately provide the needed space. This of course has to be figured into the equation.

Then there's the matter of movement and distribution to maybe the various military bases around the country or even overseas. Trucks or planes need to be acquired in order to distribute the materials if there aren't enough ready made transportation vehicles. Transportation costs alone can be astronomical.

Then of course there is the maintenance of these systems. Specialized tools and personnel may be needed. In many cases safeguards need to be installed to make sure the systems don't malfunction.

Then you have the actual operation of the system itself. This may simply be a matter of assigning personnel the task of doing so. But usually in the case of a new system the personnel need to be trained. That usually involves transporting those involved in the original design and development to the various bases around the world in order to train the men and women who will be using these systems.

Finally, there is the deployment of the new system, making it ready and available for use. This may require a second transport if the system is actually used in the battle field. This might require special trucks or other vehicles to mobilize the system.

All of the above makes up logistics. As you can see it's a very complex word in itself.

Think about that the next time you hear about a new missile that was just developed.

Michael Russell

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