Academic journal article Military Review

Transformation in Army Logistics

Academic journal article Military Review

Transformation in Army Logistics

Article excerpt

The program to create the DBLS is one of the Army's most important logistics initiatives-the concrete application of the DBL operational concept to achieve the envisioned RML.... The advent of the new Army Vision has only emphasized the need for improved visibility. For the purposes of DBLS, both information and decision-support systems are placed under the tenet of visibility because decision-support algorithms allocate resources based on visibility of command priorities.

MAKING THE ARMY VISION a reality requires a quantum leap in strategic responsiveness and a corresponding revolution in military logistics (RML). This radical transformation moves the Army's logistics focus from supply mass to distribution velocity and precision-a distributionbased logistics system (DBLS). This article summarizes the Army Vision's logistic counterpart, the RML; the distribution-based logistics (DBL) operational concept; the resulting DBLS; the considerable changes to the logistics transformation strategy driven by the new Army Vision; emerging, yet still notional, performance metrics which define success; and the management plan and oversight to make it all happen.

The Army intends to project lethal, survivable interim brigade combat teams to any point on the globe, with the capability to dissuade or defeat any adversary. The goal is to put one brigade combat team (BCT) on the ground in 96 hours, one division within 120 hours and five divisions within 30 days. Even to those accustomed to America's routine accomplishment of the incredible, this represents an ambitious undertaking but one necessary to secure America's vital interests in an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment.

The Army Logistics Vision

To achieve the degree of strategic reach and overmatch envisioned by the Army requires an RMLthe Army's vision of future logistics. The Army Vision poses an unprecedented logistics challenge, which may be expressed in terms of the three domains of the RML:

Force projection requires deploying five divisions, anywhere in the world, within 30 days.

Force sustainment demands high readiness of those five divisions and being capable of quickly resolving any shortfalls so they can deploy and arrive combat ready in theater within four to 30 days. The Army must be capable of sustaining the committed-up to the total force-throughout any mission profile over lines of communication exceeding 10,000 miles.

Technological insertion and acquisition agility will provide the US with first-rate equipment and uncontested military supremacy. It must identify and target technology and be agile enough to acquire materiel necessary to project and sustain the force throughout the deployment sequence, from shortfused start to decisive finish, regardless of mission type or duration.

Of the three functional domains of the RML, none captures its essence more than force sustainment. The program to create the DBLS is one of the Army's most important logistics initiatives-the concrete application of the DBL operational concept to achieve the envisioned RML.

DBL

DBL is an operational concept that relies on distribution velocity and precision rather than redundant supply mass to provide responsive support to warfighters. It reduces the mass required to compensate for the lethal uncertainties of war by reducing uncertainty across the Joint theater. DBL is comprised of three tenets:

Visibility. The acquisition of near real-time situational understanding, or visibility, has been a major objective of Force XXI. The Army is continuing this effort, with the first digitized division to be fielded in December 2000, followed by the digitized corps in 2004. The advent of the new Army Vision has only emphasized the need for improved visibility. For the purposes of DBLS, both information and decision-support systems are placed under the tenet of visibility because decision-support algorithms allocate resources based on visibility of command priorities. …

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