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Life Cycle Logistics

Safer, Smarter, Faster

Safer, Smarter, Faster

Bill Kobren
Check out a September-October 2018 issue of Army Sustainment Magazine article entitled “Safer, smarter, faster: An interview with Gen. James McConville”. When asked how important innovation and modernization for building readiness is, the General responded: “When we talk about logistics, we're still going to need to feed Soldiers; we're still going to need to fuel and arm vehicles and helicopters; and we're still going to need to get critical parts to units on the battlefield.

What is going to change is how we do that. We talk about modernization and innovation, and we can take some cues right now from the civilian sector. We're starting to see autonomous vehicles moving around the country conducting logistics, both in the air and on the ground. We're seeing additive manufacturing where we can actually make parts at the point of need, saving a lot of time that would have been required to get them delivered.

We're going to see artificial intelligence involved in helping us with condition-based maintenance, so we know ahead of time when parts will need to be replaced, rather than waiting until they fail or changing them based solely on hours in use. Technology is going to save us a lot of time.

While innovation and modernization are certainly going to change the way we do logistics on the battlefield, it's not going to change the criticality of sustaining our units while they're in combat -- I want to make sure our logisticians understand just how important they are on the battlefield.

One of my first jobs in the Army was the support platoon leader for the 2nd Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, and I learned very quickly how important logisticians are for any unit type. Without my support platoon delivering food, Soldiers would not eat. Without my support platoon delivering fuel, vehicles would not move. Without ammunition, none of those weapon systems would shoot.

Without repair parts, there'd be a whole bunch of helicopters that were just expensive paperweights. Logisticians play a critical role on the battlefield, and they will continue to do so in the future.”