The Evolution of Centralized Operational Logistics
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph describes the evolution of logistics management at the operational level since the end of the Second World War. Examining how the Department of Defense has organized itself at the operational level to manage logistics over the last 50 years will allow sustainment planners to implement the optimal level of centralization in future conflicts. Since World War II, the American military has increasingly centralized the management of logistics to increase efficiency and reduce overall costs. This monograph demonstrates this move toward centralization through an examination of the core logistics functions of supply, maintenance operations, and distribution during the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since World War II, the services have sought the most efficient method to sustain their forces during combat operations on multiple continents far from the industrial base. The Department of Defense has implemented varying degrees of control in the management of common user logistics since 1970, from requiring each service to be responsible for managing its own logistical requirements to centralizing the management of common user items across the services, but stopping short of creating a unified logistics command. With inevitable decreases in personnel and funding in the near future, and increased reliance on joint operations, it is imperative that the services implement the most efficient logistics management method in support of combat operations. The trend of increasing the centralization of logistics management is evident in the examination of the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, but inefficiencies still exist. The monograph recommends that the Department of Defense continue to centralize its logistics management functions to increase synchronization among the services and create further efficiencies.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies