United States Army Logistics: From the American Revolution to 9/11

United States Army Logistics: From the American Revolution to 9/11

United States Army Logistics: From the American Revolution to 9/11

United States Army Logistics: From the American Revolution to 9/11

Synopsis

This work serves as a history of the United States Army logistics, mapping out the challenges, failures, and outcomes that for over 200 years have helped develop the U.S. logistical system today.

Excerpt

The requirements of logistics are seldom understood. The burdens they impose on the
responsible military authorities are rarely appreciated.

General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, 1943

The United States Army has the best logistical support in the world today. What does that mean? How did it happen? The history of U.S. Army logistics is one of evolution, trial and error, and occasionally revolutionary change over a period of 200-plus years. Each new period of peace or war has brought new challenges and requirements. The availability of resources, industrial capacity, the size of the Army, geographic scope of operations, the organization of the logistics system, competent leadership (sufficient individuals with management and engineering skills), congressional support, funding, and new technology have supported and continue to affect the logistical system on a daily basis.

Creating the Army in 1775 proved to be easy compared to the task of keeping the Army adequately supplied over the short and long term. The Army’s logistics system began with practically nothing, and through numerous conflicts and periods of peace it has developed into a first-rate supply system capable of supporting the global military commitments of the present day.

What is logistics? Although supposedly of ancient origin, from the Greek logistikos meaning “skilled in calculating,” the word logistics did not come into common usage in English until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Baron De Jomini is credited with the first reference to logistics in modern times when he devoted a section to the topic in his famous work, The Art of War, published in 1838. He stated that the term logistics derived “from the title of Major General des logis, (translated . . .

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