In my experience in previous wars, the logistic soldier was generally regarded as a rear area
soldier…. Over here in Vietnam, that is completely changed…. There is no rear area soldier,
as such. Because of this, more than ever before, the man in logistics has to be first, a soldier,
in the full sense of the word, and yet at the same time he has to know his MOS so that he can
do his logistics job. —Major General James M. Heiser, USA, 1969
This chapter begins with a general discussion and analysis of how logistics in counterinsurgency (COIN) operations differ from logistics in conventional operations. This is followed by a survey of COIN-specific factors that affect how commanders can leverage available logistic assets and assign logisticians to meet special requirements needed to support different COIN logical lines of operations. Discussions that follow acknowledge that COIN operations may be entered into from various military conditions ranging from unstable peace to general war. The chapter concludes with a discussion of contracting support to COIN operations.
8-1. In counterinsurgency (COIN), the support provided by sustainment units often extends beyond sustaining operations; support provided to the population may become an important shaping operation or even the decisive operation. Logistic providers are often no longer the tail but the nose of a COIN force. Some of the most valuable services that military logisticians can provide to COIN operations include the means and knowledge for setting up or restarting self-perpetuating sustainment designs. The