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The Future of Logistics Automation

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Since the mid-1960s the Army has integrated automation into almost every aspect of logistics. The Army Logisticians start point for fielding an automated system was little more than a sophisticated accounting machine, the National Cash Register model NCR 500. The NCR 500 did nothing more than automate an existing manual process. In the next thirty years the Armys logistics community has done little more than continue to automate manual processes. Each branch, and branch subset, has independently developed their system, because they felt their functions to be unique. Today we have logistics systems that do not share information with other logistics systems and that have different names for the same thing. Logisticians have a difficult time understanding their own automated systems. The rest of the Army generally does not try. The Army tactical commander does not have direct, easy, access to logistics information regarding his units logistical status. Most battalion and brigade commanders, logisticians and non-logisticians alike, feel that logistics systems are developed without a view towards Army needs. This paper will look at where Army logistics automation has been, where it is today, and where current planning will take it in the future. The paper concludes with where the author thinks logistics automation should be going, why and how. This paper is not a technical treatise on logistics automation. There will be no discussions of what goes in card column 39 nor what AOA card does within the system. It is rather a concerned conceptual look at the topic, with a view towards Army logistics for the remainder of this century and into the twenty-first century.

Subject Categories:

  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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