Precise, Timely Logistics are a Top Army Focus

Precise, Timely Logistics are a Top Army Focus

Panelists at Global Force
Photo by: AUSA/Jared Lieberher

A lean, agile and resilient sustainment enterprise capable of delivering precision logistics across a dispersed, contested battlefield remains a top Army priority, a panel of experts said March 26.

“We have to develop solutions at the speed of relevance, and our adversaries are not on our timeline,” said Col. Shane Upton, director of Army Futures Command’s Contested Logistics Cross-Functional Team. “Precision logistics is an Army effort. It is a priority to bring readiness to our combat formations, and precision is a must.”

Speaking at the Association of the U.S. Army’s 2024 Global Force Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Alabama, Maj. Gen. Michelle Donahue, commanding general of Army Combined Arms Support Command, agreed, adding that gaps in the service’s ability to deliver precision logistics are a “threat to the Army’s ability to open and set theaters at the speed of relevance.”

As the Army prepares for large-scale combat operations, “the battlefield is no longer local,” said Lt. Gen. Christopher Mohan, deputy commanding general of Army Materiel Command.

The rise in technologies such as artificial intelligence and the evolution of drones and other technologies have “already transformed how we will fight the next large-scale combat operation,” Mohan said during the panel titled “Delivering Precision Sustainment in Support of Ready Combat Formations.”

After enjoying the ability to move to theater “almost unopposed,” the Army likely will have to fight to get to the future fight, from the joint strategic support area to the foxhole, Mohan said.

“No matter what, this is going to be a contested environment, … and it’s going to be contested in every domain,” he said. “How do we remain successful in such an environment? That means we have to transform the sustainment warfighting function.”

The challenge is particularly acute in the Indo-Pacific, where troops could be “dispersed by thousands of miles,” Upton said. “It’s going to be contested from the homeland to the foxhole, or in reverse, from the foxhole to the factory,” he said.

The cross-functional team is looking to reduce the Army’s logistics tail, Upton said, with fuel and ammunitions among the key areas the team is studying.

As an example, Upton said, “we were still putting wood sticks in fuel tanks in Europe not too long ago.” Instead, the Army should be looking for sensors that can more quickly and accurately tell commanders how much fuel they’re consuming and how much they need, Upton said.

“We need products that will let us see ourselves better,” he said.

Integrating machines is another area the cross-function team is studying, Upton said. This means “offsetting risks to machines to enable humans to do what humans do best,” he said.

The Army also must take lessons from the fighting in Ukraine and Gaza and turn them into “actionable innovation now,” Mohan said. This includes working with the Army’s industry partners.

“We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Mohan said.