4

Conclusions and Recommendations

CONCLUSIONS

Logistics, on the scale required to support naval forces in a littoral region halfway around the world, is an immensely complex and difficult undertaking, performed always under trying and often hostile conditions. The conditions of the future promise to be no less challenging, and in some respect perhaps more so, than those of the past. Only responsive, focused logistic activity will enable military operations within the action time lines needed for mission success. Meeting these high expectations in the future will require new logistic capabilities and new ways of accomplishing logistic tasks. Technology will play essential roles in both.

Information technology is likely to offer the greatest leverage in creating the logistic system of the future. It will offer logisticians at every operational level the data to anticipate or respond to logistic needs, to assess and select the best courses of action, to make the best use of logistic assets, and to control the flow of logistic support. The panel highlights three areas in particular that it believes can benefit substantially from the use of information technology: (1) planning and controlling the flow of supplies to naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore; (2) providing the logistic command, control, and communications needed to support Operational Maneuver From the Sea; and (3) maintaining weapon system readiness.

Advances in handling and transport of materiel also will be necessary to support the type of military operations expected in the future. The major new challenges that technology must address are (1) rearming missile launchers at



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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force 4 Conclusions and Recommendations CONCLUSIONS Logistics, on the scale required to support naval forces in a littoral region halfway around the world, is an immensely complex and difficult undertaking, performed always under trying and often hostile conditions. The conditions of the future promise to be no less challenging, and in some respect perhaps more so, than those of the past. Only responsive, focused logistic activity will enable military operations within the action time lines needed for mission success. Meeting these high expectations in the future will require new logistic capabilities and new ways of accomplishing logistic tasks. Technology will play essential roles in both. Information technology is likely to offer the greatest leverage in creating the logistic system of the future. It will offer logisticians at every operational level the data to anticipate or respond to logistic needs, to assess and select the best courses of action, to make the best use of logistic assets, and to control the flow of logistic support. The panel highlights three areas in particular that it believes can benefit substantially from the use of information technology: (1) planning and controlling the flow of supplies to naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore; (2) providing the logistic command, control, and communications needed to support Operational Maneuver From the Sea; and (3) maintaining weapon system readiness. Advances in handling and transport of materiel also will be necessary to support the type of military operations expected in the future. The major new challenges that technology must address are (1) rearming missile launchers at

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force sea; (2) providing a sea-based support platform, low-cost, robust, high-speed watercraft, and air transport to support the Marine Corps concept of Operational Maneuver From the Sea; and (3) conducting logistics-over-the-shore operations in rough seas. The full benefit from technology, however, will be gained only by applying it in the context of enterprise processes that draw together, in an integrated and deliberate design, all relevant activities to achieve specific goals. Technology, particularly information technology, will enable logistic processes that are substantially different from the traditional ones. The Navy and the Marine Corps should use new technology to change the way logistics is accomplished, not simply to perform current tasks better. The aging of the ships of the combat logistic force, the pending expiration of leases on the maritime prepositioning ships, and the need for a sea-based support platform for amphibious operations all present an opportunity to do careful examination and design of future logistic processes before major ship investments are made. RECOMMENDATIONS The panel offers the following recommendations: The Navy and Marine Corps should take the opportunity now, before starting the design of new logistic ships, to define and design future logistic processes, from the sources of materiel to its delivery in warfighter-ready condition to naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore. Once the logistic processes are designed and the roles of logistic ships have been decided, the Navy should examine the desired characteristics of new logistic ships to see if they can be met by a common design, a modular design, or a design that is convertible to alternate roles. The Navy and Marine Corps should learn how to exploit the advantages of standard shipping containers in supporting naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore. Containers offer efficiency, control, and security in transporting and handling materiel. With emerging technology for load planning, content tagging, and shipment tracking, containers can be transformed from dumps of randomly stowed materiel to virtual supply depots of immediately accessible materiel that is warfighter ready. The Navy and Marine Corps should develop and apply to logistic operations the emerging information technologies that promise to enable management of processes as integrated enterprises supporting naval operations: Automated marking and identification technology to eliminate manual input of critical logistic data; Sensors and intelligent software for monitoring logistic activities (e.g., shipments and maintenance) and for carrying out routine actions automatically;

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Displays and software for assimilating, presenting, and making easier to use the vast quantities of data; Modeling and simulation, for real-time planning, assessment, and selection of courses of action; and Distributed collaborative planning, for rapid coordination of resupply actions among the supplier, the transporter, and the user. The Navy and Marine Corps should formulate and commit to a long-term plan—a path of evolution—to guide technology development, investment, and fleet implementation of a standard integrated, information-based process for maintaining weapon system readiness. The process should encompass the entire life cycle of a weapon system, from acquisition to disposal. The plan should give particular attention to current weapon systems, to infrastructure and common support needs, to integration of industry capabilities into the process, and to developing and exploiting the capabilities of the following technologies: Integrated digital weapon system databases; Computer-based technical training; Integrated maintenance information systems that tie together all information relevant to a technician’s task and present it at the point of use in the most usable form; Sensor-based diagnostic and prognostic software; and Automated identification, tracking, and control of parts, supplies, and shipments.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force