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Time to invest in more CAF logistics?

Kirkhill

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GR66 said:
DHL or KBR might be OK for conflicts like Afghanistan/Iraq where airspace isn't contested and they can get into theatre without too much risk, but will they be able to deliver to Warsaw while it's under artillery attack and the international airport has its runways cratered?  How will your FedEx 767 manage entering contested airspace?

Didn't see this one earlier GR66.

The issue would then be getting them to deliver as close as possible.

For example - If they can't/won't deliver to Warsaw perhaps they can deliver to Cologne instead.  In that case even a small fleet of C17s and C130s flown by uniformed personnel could shift a lot of tonnage eastwards in short, frequent round trips - Just like the old Berlin Airlift.

The uniformed personnel needs to be there to do the stuff the civvies won't.  In my opinion it makes little sense having uniformed personnel do stuff civvies will.
 

MilEME09

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Chris Pook said:
The uniformed personnel needs to be there to do the stuff the civvies won't.  In my opinion it makes little sense having uniformed personnel do stuff civvies will.

Depends on the quality of the work, I am a Red Seal qualified Chef in civilian life, and I shake my head at many of the civilians I see working in CF kitchens. I am all for offloading un necessary positions to civilian contracts but we must have checks in place to make sure we are getting bang for our buck.
 

PuckChaser

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MilEME09 said:
Depends on the quality of the work, I am a Red Seal qualified Chef in civilian life, and I shake my head at many of the civilians I see working in CF kitchens. I am all for offloading un necessary positions to civilian contracts but we must have checks in place to make sure we are getting bang for our buck.

Sometimes we don't have that option to retain military members in positions. Remember our hard cap of PYs, and don't we have the same number of bases we had 50 years ago (minus Calgary, Winnipeg), with a lot less PYs to throw around into those cook/mess manager/etc positions.
 

Kirkhill

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MilEME09 said:
Depends on the quality of the work, I am a Red Seal qualified Chef in civilian life, and I shake my head at many of the civilians I see working in CF kitchens. I am all for offloading un necessary positions to civilian contracts but we must have checks in place to make sure we are getting bang for our buck.

Regardless of who is providing the service they need to be held to the contracted standard.  I am sure that in your civvy job you have had to haul up suppliers and tell them to get their act together - or find a new supplier.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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Infanteer said:
Be careful, those U.S. numbers include the Forward Support Companies that act as "Admin Companies" for the battalions.

True. I had to go back through the Org charts to see how the numbers for the BSB lined up since the sub-unit numbers were similar to the numbers for IBCT/SBCT's.

Also, the US BSBs do include the hospital company as part of their overall numbers. It does make one wonder why the Canadian numbers are so high and the US numbers so low when they are logistically as dependent as we are (and we are very dependent).
 

MilEME09

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Chris Pook said:
Regardless of who is providing the service they need to be held to the contracted standard.  I am sure that in your civvy job you have had to haul up suppliers and tell them to get their act together - or find a new supplier.

Yes, it is also why I have 5 different suppliers. It's great to have standards, but who is holding them to those standards, and how often are they checked on?
 

Halifax Tar

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I think using DHL, for example, to move mass amounts of stores into a theatre is not a terrible idea.  It can augment the air bridge, or replace it, quite effectively. 

Call me a Canadian but I don't agree with arming civilians and sending them to the front to deliver supplies, MRTs ect.  That is a soldiers job.  A soldier must obey orders, follow ROEs, and any soldier can be used to take an hold ground in an emergency.  I think you will find you will get a better "fighting spirit" from the uniformed logistician.

 

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Halifax Tar said:
I think using DHL, for example, to move mass amounts of stores into a theatre is not a terrible idea.  It can augment the air bridge, or replace it, quite effectively. 

Call me a Canadian but I don't agree with arming civilians and sending them to the front to deliver supplies, MRTs ect.  That is a soldiers job.  A soldier must obey orders, follow ROEs, and any soldier can be used to take an hold ground in an emergency.  I think you will find you will get a better "fighting spirit" from the uniformed logistician.

Colonel Conrad agrees with you  :nod:

It's at the FEBA where civilian business practices don't really apply.  I'm of the opinion that comparing what Walmart does to what the military does in a medium-high intensity conflict zone is essentially comparing fruits and vegetables.  IMO it's a useless exercise.

The business world has the advantage of being able to be incredibly deliberate in how they go about doing things.  We do not have that luxury, although we sometimes think we do because of our highly scripted training practices. 



 

Kirkhill

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Obviously I am inclined to be of the contrary position.

Any company that is not light enough on its feet to react to markets that vary day by day is going to go out of business.  Hence the success of Walmart and the demise of Zellers.  Walmart holds no inventory.  It builds local Replenishment Points and feeds with other peoples' goods from central distribution points.  It supplies to the market what the vendors wish to have supplied.  If the market doesn't like what the vendor is selling that is on the vendor, not Walmart.

Walmart, together with a multiplicity of civilian transport companies, including DHL, merely supply a means for distributing materials.  They could equally be the CAF's materials - assuming the CAF/DND/PSPC/TB/PMO can figure out what that material is supposed to be, how much of it they want, where they want it and when.

I don't disagree with the need for a solid uniformed logistics system at the FEBA/FLOT.  The issue I have is how far behind the FEBA do the uniforms have to extend.

A similar question is: how many bodies does the CQ need and where does he need them?  Does he need a section forward with F and section back with A or can he get the job done with a Clerk at B just managing the paperwork and relying on B to move his Company's needed goods forward?

 

Bird_Gunner45

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Humphrey Bogart said:
Colonel Conrad agrees with you  :nod:

It's at the FEBA where civilian business practices don't really apply.  I'm of the opinion that comparing what Walmart does to what the military does in a medium-high intensity conflict zone is essentially comparing fruits and vegetables.  IMO it's a useless exercise.

The business world has the advantage of being able to be incredibly deliberate in how they go about doing things.  We do not have that luxury, although we sometimes think we do because of our highly scripted training practices.

But, as mentioned before, when major conflicts have broken out it has been the cooperation between the heads of industry and military that allowed for an effective logistics system to be created, not a pre-standing system. Civilian ships, transport system, and manufacturing processes all established the military machine that won WWII.

Is there no reason why we couldn't have a similar "melding of the minds" in 2016 to come up with an effective industry-military solution?

I would also argue that the military has the luxury of being deliberate for the 98% of the time that it isn't in medium-conflict scenarios (conventional warfare). Even Afghanistan, post 2006/2007 had the ability to be VERY deliberate in logistics. Business on the other hand needs to be more flexible since they rely on customers who can be fickle, so need to constantly evolve or die. The military is a conservative organization generally stuck in it's ways and slow to change. That's why our doctrinal "service battalion" still has ~800 pers while an American one has 363 (not including logistics pushed to front line units for Admin Coys) INCLUDING a health services Company.  :2c:
 
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sandyson

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A considerable difference between civilian supply services and military is that e.g. Walmart thrives on just-in-time delivery.  In war, the military depend on  the logistics of redundancy.  On the first logistics course, this was a heated point of argument between the air force on one side and the army and navy on the other.  Efficiency demands one organization while redundancy demands another and so on with deployments. Current patterns are obsolete other than that they are dendritic.  In general war the battle field will encompass the whole area of the warring factions but unlike World War Two supply interdiction will occur at the manufacturing end--indeed at the energy source.  (Yes Germany was bombed but it it increased military output in spite of that.) So I wonder on the nature of logistics and in particular of supply.  How much lead time is necessary to  create the redundancy needed and to where is it distributed? and will electronic warfare allow communicating demands to the supply system?
For 'peacekeeping', 'war against terror', and humanitarian assistance our current system will make do.  It won't do in a general war. Something new is needed. 
 

Kirkhill

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In which war did the military have redundant supply chains?

My understanding was that in WW1 the Brits couldn't get trench coats, rifles or shells out of the factories fast enough to be able to feed an expanding army and maintain operations.  In fact, if I remember correctly, operations were put on hold in 1915 due to a lack of shells being produced.

And in WW2 the Brits were buying anything that flew and anything that looked like a tank to keep the Mediterranean theatre going while Slim in Burma was having parachutes locally made from jute. 

Yes, in Normandy, after a 3 year build up, supplies were available - but that was one very special situation. 

I was under the impression that the biggest logistical problem of both of those wars was getting things as expeditiously as possible from the factory gate to FEBA.
 

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Chris Pook said:
In which war did the military have redundant supply chains?

My understanding was that in WW1 the Brits couldn't get trench coats, rifles or shells out of the factories fast enough to be able to feed an expanding army and maintain operations.  In fact, if I remember correctly, operations were put on hold in 1915 due to a lack of shells being produced.

And in WW2 the Brits were buying anything that flew and anything that looked like a tank to keep the Mediterranean theatre going while Slim in Burma was having parachutes locally made from jute. 

Yes, in Normandy, after a 3 year build up, supplies were available - but that was one very special situation. 

I was under the impression that the biggest logistical problem of both of those wars was getting things as expeditiously as possible from the factory gate to FEBA.

Exactly, and it took a major shock to get people to understand the magnitude of the logistics challenge. Heck, how do you get enough field bakeries built and organize the yeast and flour and all the rest to feed the massive armies being recruited? As a gunner officer I spent much of my career wondering how the supply world was going to deliver the ammunition needed to fight even a thirty day war to the gun positions. Now multiply that by the Canadian Tire Catalogue and consider the harassed logistics officers with inadequate budgets and a delivery system that would have frustrated Oliver Cromwell.
 

a_majoor

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While the speed, flexibility and responsiveness of massive organizations like WalMart have a lot to teach us about logistics and administration, there is one massive difference between them and us. As noted upthread, WalMart gets a lot of its efficiency and responsiveness by being "just in time", however, we have to be more like the fore department and have everything on hand "just in case".

One thing which makes me shudder os the prolonged procurement process for getting everything from boots to F-35's. In WWI and WWII, we were able to ramp up the industrial machine to build ever increasing quantities of material and push the designs ahead generations in a very short time. Can you imagine if the RCAF was sent into a hostile environment and started getting aircraft shot down by SAMs or other threats? besides the political ducking and covering, it would take years if not decades to replace the combat losses. We don't even buy enough aircraft, tanks or boots to support a sudden "surge" should we have to deploy in multiple theatres.

Imagine if Eastern Europe suddenly gets "hot" and the situation in the Middle East boils over because everyone there thinks they can make their move while NATO is distracted? Extra men and equipment to deal with all that and maintain a reserve for DOMOPS or to keep an eye on the South China Sea? Good luck with that. And of course that does not even take into account the complete hash we have made of recruiting, and the time it takes to enrol people, much less train them.
 

Edward Campbell

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Actually governments, even huge ones, can be quite nimble when good "management" is allowed (forced?) to rise to the occasion.

It started, in modern times, I would suggest, with Pitt the Younger who, actually, did more to defeat the French than Nelson and Wellington combined ... in our own times (well, a couple of us were alive, albeit in knee pants) we saw Beaverbrook and CD Howe bring order and even innovation out of a slothful, slumbering bureaucracy. 

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Bird_Gunner45

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Part of the problem that seems to be cropping up is the inherent different between the lines of support, particularly when we discuss "Just in Time" logistics.

Civilian contractors have no place in second line logistics, which is the purview of the Service Battalion. That's where the majority of the danger is going to lie. However, for all intents and purposes, second line is "just in time" logistics, since it relies on first line requests and maintaining the second line "maintenance load". The trick for service battalion then depends on how big the maintenance load needs to be (how much supply) and how long are the supply lines (transport required). 

Fourth line and third line logistics is where civilian integration could provide significant benefits to us (Canada) and take strain off of the military system. Third line is essentially all about creating DOS (days of supply) for the second line to draw upon. To this end, third line can be heavily civilianized to provide stock, which a civilian contractor could provide.

Having seen the Canadian Tire warehouse, the difference in efficiency between civilian organizations and the military is amazing. From a centralized warehouse, they can provide JIT to all their stores in Eastern Canada based on requests. As everything is automated it requires minimal personnel. Since the Canadian Tire model (Centralized warehouse with DOS) providing JIT to stores (our second line) it seems to be a natural fit.

 

Kirkhill

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
Part of the problem that seems to be cropping up is the inherent different between the lines of support, particularly when we discuss "Just in Time" logistics.

Civilian contractors have no place in second line logistics, which is the purview of the Service Battalion. That's where the majority of the danger is going to lie. However, for all intents and purposes, second line is "just in time" logistics, since it relies on first line requests and maintaining the second line "maintenance load". The trick for service battalion then depends on how big the maintenance load needs to be (how much supply) and how long are the supply lines (transport required). 

Fourth line and third line logistics is where civilian integration could provide significant benefits to us (Canada) and take strain off of the military system. Third line is essentially all about creating DOS (days of supply) for the second line to draw upon. To this end, third line can be heavily civilianized to provide stock, which a civilian contractor could provide.

Having seen the Canadian Tire warehouse, the difference in efficiency between civilian organizations and the military is amazing. From a centralized warehouse, they can provide JIT to all their stores in Eastern Canada based on requests. As everything is automated it requires minimal personnel. Since the Canadian Tire model (Centralized warehouse with DOS) providing JIT to stores (our second line) it seems to be a natural fit.

This is not the Canadian Tire Warehouse but - What does it mean for the military if Warehouses, Ships and Trucks are robotized?  I am going to leave automated fire support systems off the board just now.

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PuckChaser

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Those robotized shelves would sure be great, but we don't have the budget to stock them and make use of it. Civilian just in time shipping seems so appealing because we're constantly grabbing things HPR/IOR that should be well stocked at Depot in Montreal.

Stock outs of popular size clothing or common use parts should never happen, but it's our status quo.
 

Kirkhill

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PC:  I think the argument is that you shouldn't be paying for those shelves and system.  You should be paying for the boots that could be on those shelves.
 

Old Sweat

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Just in time works really well, as long as the enemy agrees to give you lots of notice before you have to cope with a run on stuff like 155mm HE and 5.56mm ball and everything in between.
 
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