Cove Talks

The Way We Sustain: Logistics, Army and Future War

By David Beaumont February 26, 2018


Welcome to the February 2018 CoveTalk.

Our guest speaker is David Beaumont who is a leading Australian Army logistician. During his career, he has worked within a joint operational environment and served overseas in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, he has performed a variety of planning roles in support of Army modernisation under Plan Beersheba, and contributed to the development of supporting logistics concepts and Army's review of its strategic logistics. He is currently serving as the Commanding Officer at the School of Army Logistic Operations.

Dave has written extensively. He was selected as Chief of Army Scholar in 2017 and is currently undertaking doctoral research on ADF logistics and contemporary mobilisation.

In 2017, he established the blog 'Logistics in War' with the purpose of generating discussion. It is with the intent of continuing this discussion that he presents to an Army wide audience.

Synopsis

Experienced soldiers agree that logistics ranks as one of the most crucial elements contributing to military success. The Army’s ‘logistics readiness’ shapes and defines its combat potential, as well as its performance during operations. However, while we acknowledge that logistics is important, few consider it as an aspect of effective command. Logistics is about winning battles and wars by assuring the existence of combat power, and underpins much a commander must consider when making strategic and tactical decisions. It is therefore important that as we reinvest in our understanding of strategy and tactics, we also address logistics and the practicalities of war.

The presentation examines logistics in the ADF - the way we sustain joint land force operations. Both historic preferences and broad operational lessons have been raised, as well as the dual requirements of Army logistics. These requirements, often thought of as a false dichotomy, are described as ‘the logistics of coalition participation’ and ‘the logistics of coalition leadership’.  Finally, the discussion places the way in which we sustain in the context of the future war on land as imagined in recent discussions both in Australia and abroad. The talk concludes with a case for transforming Army logistics to address these new challenges, support the modernisation of Army and to elevate its relevance as a topic for every Army commander and leader.

Readings:

Beaumont, DJ., 2018, Transforming Australian Army Logistics to Sustain the Joint Force

Smith, C & Palazzo, A., 2016, Coming to terms with the modern way of war: precision missiles and the land component of Australia’s joint force

Blogs:

Beaumont, DJ, 2017, The roots of readiness – the six logistics factors shaping strategic choice

Follett, G, 2017, The trust deficit – why do we expect logistics to fail us?  


Portrait

Biography

David Beaumont

David Beaumont has served in a wide variety of Army and Joint logistics units and headquarters, and is currently Chief Instructor at the Army School of Logistics Operations. He has written extensively on expeditionary warfare, military logistics and organisational transformation, from blog articles to book chapters and substantial papers. His most recent paper is ‘Transforming Army Logistics to Support the Joint Land Force, published by the Australian Army Research Centre, in which he describes an agenda for change in Army logistics. In 2016 he established the blog, ‘Logistics in War’ (www.logisticsinwar.com / @logisticsinwar) and can be found @davidblogistics.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.



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