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Defence Logistics Organisation Analysis for War Suitability

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Historically, nation states have used military power as an instruement of state to achieve their national aims & objectives. Towards that end, logistics along with strategy and tactics constitute an important sub division of the practical art of war fighting" [1]. It therefore evolves upon students of military history to grasp the nuances of logistics, the way it affects the very essence of modern, contemporary war fighting philosophy.

To begin with, it is not incorrect to say that the military activity known as logistics is probably as old as war itself. The word logistics is derived from the Greek adjective, "logistikus" meaning "skilled in calculating". Research indicates that the first use of the word with reference to an organised military administrative service was by the French writer Jomini who served as a staff officer in Napoleon's army. In 1838, he set down logistics as one of the six branches of the military art, the other five being statesmanship in its relationship to war, strategy or art of properly directing masses upon the theatre of war, grand tactics, engineering and minor tactics. He included the phrase 'it is the execution of strategic and tactical enterprises' in his definition of logistics. In short, he devised a theory of war upon the trinity of strategy, ground tactics and logistics. He defined it as "practical art of moving armies" [2].

Based on the experience gained over the years, the term was redefined in 1968 wherein Logistics was referred to as the art and science of creating and maintaining a military capability. It consists of the process of determining requirements, acquisitions, distributions and maintenance of materials". As regards, our Indian manuals, they define logistics as the science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of forces"[3]. In today's usage, logistics is the function of providing all the material and services that a military force needs in "Peace or War". Logistics, therefore, covers a wide canvas & broadly includes all military activities, other than strategy and tactics. It would therefore, be prudent to refer to logistics as the bridge between our combat troops and the industry & natural resources of our country.

Logistics perse is a key element of Doctrine, too, which describes it as a process that consists of planning and executing the movement and sustenance of operating forces in executing a military strategy and operations. It is essentially moving, supplying and maintaining military forces and is basic to the ability of armies, fleets and air forces to operate - indeed to exist. It has a direct bearing on a country's capability to support a national strategy [4].

As the rapidly evolving modern battlefield milieu transforms into short, intense and technologically intensive wars, the over bearing need for a fool proof and highly responsive logistic organizational structure for Indian Army to meet the logistic imperatives of a short war cannot be over emphasized.

Our existing logistics system has been inherited from the British. Though the logistic system in general and the logistic organisation in particular have been subjected to numerous improvements and changes over the last six decades, the logistic system perse has failed to evolve with changing times and has more or less retained its archaic character. The major, Mathew[5] reason for the antiquated character of our logistic system is the flawed organisational structure which inhibits and precludes optimum utilisation of our well developed and vast national logistic capacities. Restructuring of our existing defence logistics organisation, therefore, is a pre-requisite to restructure our logistic system to meet the logistic imperatives of a short war.



Statement of the Problem

To study and analyse the existing defence logistics organisation and to ascertain its suitability to meet the logistics imperatives of a short war.


Our existing defence logistics organization is based on archaic concepts and will not be able to deliver adequately in a short war.


The scope of this study is restricted to analysis of the existing defence logistics organisation and to suggest a viable and responsive organisational structure that can meet the logistics imperatives of a short war.

Methods of Data Collection.

The data and information has been gathered from books, journals, periodicals, internet sites and also from own exposure and experience. The bibliography of sources is appended at the end of the text.



War has been the single most important instruement by which most of the great facts of human history have been accomplished and maintained. It has been used as an instruement against aggression as also as an instruement of aggression itself. It has played the most dominant role in nearly all important crisis of humankind ; it has been used to achieve liberty, to ensure democracy as also in building great empires and in enforcing dictatorships.

The term 'war' today has come to include many more kinds of hostile activities ; limited war, short war, total war, cold war, hot war, propaganda war, psychological war, ground war, space war as also various other low -intensity conflicts such as guerilla war and fourth generation warfare. Thus war today is not only far more horrifying and a far more complex affair, it has also come to pervade all other aspects of man's social life [6].

Limited War

The concept of limited war goes back to the 19th century when miitary theorists underscored the determinative relationship between political ends and military means. Both 19th century theorist Clausewitz and his 20th century successor Liddell Hart were committed advocates of the use of limited war or limited force as opposed to total war. In the 19th century, when concepts of blitzkrieg and wars of annihilation dominated military thoughts and policies, Clausewitz opposed such concepts. He stated, "Political objectives, as the original motives of the war, should be the standard for determining both the aim of the military force and also the aim of effort to be made. With the advancement in automatic warfare in the middle of World War II, Liddell Hart realised that because of the destructive nature of the weapons, wars should be limited; however, he did not advocate limited war as a strategy. Later after the development of nuclear weapons, Liddell Hart came up with the concept of limited war. He said, "Where both sides possess atomic power, total war makes nonsense" and any unlimited war "waged with atomic power would make worse than nonsense; it would be mutually suicidal. He goes on to say "any total war, or even the preparation for it, is likely to carry more evils in its train, without bearing any good promise in the event of victory [7].

Robert E Osgood defined limited war as " A limited war is one in which the belligerents restrict the purpose for which they fight to concrete, well defined objectives that do not demand the utmost military effort of which the belligerents are capable and that can be accommodated in a negotiated settlement. The battle is confined to a local geographical area and directed against selected targets - primarily those of direct military importance. It permits their economic, social and political patterns of existence to continue without serious disruption. In another study, Osgood defines limited war as a war that was "to be fought for ends far short of the complete subordination of one state's will to another's using means that involve far less than the total military resources of the belligerents and leave the civilian life and the armed forces of the belligerents largely intact. Robert Osgood also admitted that limited war was not a uniform phenomena, it meant different things to different people. War could be limited in different ways and could be limited in some and not limited in others. For instance, a war limited in geographical terms may be unlimited in weapons employed or the targets involved. Similarly, a war may be limited for one of the adversaries yet unlimited in the eyes of the other [8].

Osgood while writing an epilogue on US experiences in Vietnam war, candidly confessed that even in nuclear age, a category of limited war exists which was still limited because of limitation of means. He examined limited war under three different categories of Central War, Local War and Unconventional war. While Central war involved use of nuclear weapons and was unacceptable, popularity of unconventional wars declined in US post Vietnam war. Hence, Osgood rated conventional local war as the most practical form of limited war though he did factor the contingencies which may arise and require other two categories to become operational [9].

Henry Kissinger, in " Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy " advocated that limited war might be a "war confined to a defined geographical area, or war that does not utilize the entire available weapons system (such as refraining from the use of thermonuclear weapons). It may be a war which utilizes entire weapons system but it limits its employment to specific targets " [10]. Kissinger, the man behind the Nixon Administration's adoption of the strategy of ' Limited Nuclear Options popularly known as " Schlesinger Doctrine " defined limited war as a war fought for specific political objectives which, by their very existence, led to establish a relationship between the force employed and the goal to be attained. It reflects an attempt to affect the opponents will, not to crush it, to make the conditions to be imposed seem more attractive than continued resistance to strive for specific goals and not for complete annihilation [11].

Kissinger , nevertheless, propogated a limited nuclear war strategy which came into conflict with the arguments of known proponets of limited war like Osgood and William Kaufmann, then the greatest critic of limited nuclear war. Kaufmann, a Yale University scholar and the brain behind the McMamara Strategy of flexible response, advocated keeping the war limited and its escalation under control.

A more apt definition of limited war in line with contemporary thought process and environment is "An armed conflict in which at least one protagonist intentionally restricts his objectives and/or means to accomplish those objectives. Intentional restriction can be self imposed or induced by an opponent or another nation or nations or organizations " [12]. Limited war is also defined as a " military encounter " in which the two warring sides " see each other on opposing sides and in which the effort of each falls short of the attempt to use all of its power to destroy the other [13].

Beyond doubt, limitation in warfare has always been impressed upon on the grounds of either morality or other limitations of resources and technology. However, with the advent of nuclear weapons on the one hand and of irreconciliable ideologies on the other, limitation in warfare had become a matter of necessity if the war was to sustain its traditional role of being an instruement of politics. And it is here that the strategy of limited war which seeks to preserve the eternal values of 'primacy of politics' and 'economy of force' even in the nuclear age has assumed supreme importance. Limited war framework does not include wars involving non-nuclear states. Instead, limited wars are conflicts in which vital interests of the nuclear powers are directly or indirectly involved and in which, therefore, the threat of their expansion into a Total War remains omnipresent & imminent. Hence, it is this massive and deliberate hobbling of their infinite power by nuclear weapon powers that qualifies a conflict as limited war.

Such wars have also been termed as Short Wars and , as seen in numerous conflicts since second World War II, have retained their pre-eminence as the most acceptable category of war in the contemporary nuclear age. The US and the Soviet Union, the two nuclear superpowers in cold war era, had the responsibility to not only ensure limitation of conflicts that involved dangers of exploding into a nuclear war but also to modify its war fighting doctrines to address the imperatives of intense short wars, which were likely to manifest in the nuclear enviornment. However, as the Soviet Union disintegrated, it enjoined on the US to effect a major shift in US war fighting doctrines, wherein it adopted a short war specific logistic structure to support the challenges to US strategic security calculus. The logistic structure catered for highly intense and violent battlefield which would have exacted heavy casualties of men, material and equipment [14].

Limited War In Indian Context

The Indian 'Limited War' doctrine had its roots in formulation of our response to the Pakistani aggression in Kargil in 1999. As the Dec 2001 terrorist strike led to mobilization and protracted deployment in Operation Parakram, the Indian strategists offered 'Limited War' as India's answer to what in security theory is termed as the 'stability-instability' paradox. In the recent years, the limited war theory has acquired highly placed proponents and gained its own doctrinal respectability amidst intense public debates amongst Indian think tanks. Paradoxically, the Pakistani strategic experts community calls our new strategy as a doctrinal response based on regurgitation of American limited war concept of nineteen fifties to threaten and deter Pakistan [15].

Evidently, the Indian perspective on limited conventional war in a nuclear backdrop has witnessed intense and vigorous debate with proponents and opponents posing questions and counter questions on the probability of a limited conventional war escalating into a nuclear conflagaration. Historically, nuclear weapons have engendered caution between adversarial states, wherein the 1969 Soviet-Sino Ussuri River clashes and Indo-Pak Kargil war remains the only two cases where two declared nuclear weapon states have engaged in armed conflict [16]. Therefore, the options for India, to pursue its limited war doctrine against Pakistan, is to either apply military power spaced out in time and concentrated in space or stretched out in space and concentrated in time. In other words, Indian defense doctrine and strategy must seek to apply calibrated force for punitive effect, which does not have a destabilizing effect on the adversary [17]. The nuclear factor in South Asia has rendered 'total war unthinkable" and limited war has become a necessity and must be central to the military input provided to the political leadership as an option to secure conflict limitation [18]. From the Pak perspective, a limited conventional war in the Indo- Pak context, can be defined as a ' war designed to achieve specified political objectives by applying compatible resources in a critical area and by acting smartly in a manner so as to leave bare minimum incentive for the opponent to react with nuclear weapons without taking definite risk to suffer more gains [19] . India, of late, is also forced to contend with an increasingly assertive and belligerent China which sees India as the single biggest rival to Chinese pre- eminence in Asia. As numerous strategic and defence experts have began to increase the probability of a Sino-Indian military conflagration in the Himalayas, an objective look at the time frame & duration of such a conflict is also mandated.

A "limited war" in our context would envisage a likely time frame of 21- 28 days. This time frame is a logical one as geo-political realities of an armed conflict between two nuclear states along with inherent limitations of developing states in terms of economy, war waging capability etc will preclude continuation of viable operations beyond four weeks. Moreover, in a Sino-Indian conflict, the restrictive campaigning season of approximately two months will be a determinant of duration of hostilities as both sides would need time to build up their forces in the post monsoon phase. Otherwise, too, all our past wars have unambiguously been short wars, limited in duration and objectives and the future wars in a nuclear backdrop are going to be anything but different. Yet, the future wars will be short but highly intense, destructive wars, exacting heavy casualties of men, material and equipment in fast, fluid mobile battles across the entire spectrum of conflict in a technologically driven war fighting environment with far reaching implications for the war fighting philosophies of the adversaries.

Logistics Imperatives

The future battlefield in an intense, short war would necessitate a major transformation in our logistic support system with likely changes as under [20] :-

  1. Limited preparatory period and highly intense short duration war, necessitating an efficient mobilization plan.
  2. Self contained theatre based logistic support structure.
  3. High attrition rate due to greater accuracy and lethality of long range weapon systems necessitating forward positioning of a greater quantum of reserves.
  4. Greater emphasis on intra theatre regeneration and re-supply of logistics resources.
  5. A sense and respond system working on the "push model".
  6. Adoption of information technology and decision support systems for total asset visibility and improved inventory management [21].
  7. Need to improve survivability of logistics echelons by dispersion and area air defence cover where possible.
  8. Maximum reliance on air maintenance for maintenance of momentum especially in mountainous and desert terrains.
  9. Need for greater degree of logistics flexibility and redundancy in all theatres.
  10. Increased strain on logistics support system due to greater density of high technological equipment in battlefield.

The diversity of terrain and our varied operational roles, required to be performed in highly intense, short duration wars pose enormous logistic challenges and demand a dynamic, new approach to include simple, flexible and efficient logistic plans, based on a technology driven, seamless and fully networked logistic system. Such an approach is required to integrate the logistic resources of the three services and to utilize the existing national infrastructure more profitably to improve our logistic efficiency and enhance our operational readiness [22].




Existing Defence Logistic System

National Level

In India, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is the highest decision making body on national security and strategic issues and is mandated to formulate policies for the defence of the country through the National Security Council ( NSC ) established in 1998. The Defence Minister, who is a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security, heads the Ministry of Defence ( MOD )and is responsible for implementing the government's defence policies. The defence policies get implemented through various committees functioning under the MOD [23]. Details of such committees are as under :-

  1. Defence Minister's Committee.
  2. Defence Minister's Production and Supply Committee.
  3. Defence Research and Development Council.
  4. Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The Defence Minister's committee is responsible for defence planning while the Production and Supply Committee is most important as it covers the entire gamut of planning force levels and equipment planning related to availabilty of resources. The Chiefs of Staff Committee advise the Defence Minister on all military matters including logistics matters. Another committee called the Joint Adminstration Planning Committee (JAPC) having representatives from the Services, is placed under the Chiefs of Staff Committee to coordinate the logistics effort of the three services and to prepare a joint adminstration plan to supplement and support the overall mobilisation and operational plan evolved by the Joint Planning Committee ( JPC ) [24].

Army Logistics

At Army Headquarters level, the agencies responsibile for providing logistics are the Adjutant General (AG), Quartermaster general (QMG), Master General of Ordnance (MGO) and Engineering-in-Chief (E-in-C). Basically the existing system is influenced by what was primarily inherited from the British Army. In the present organization, the supply and transport are under the QMG while Ordnance and EME are with the MGO and the Medical services have been placed under the AG. Moreover, selection and introduction of any new equipment though a joint responsibility, is with the Weapons and Equipment (WE) Directorate while maintenance of such equipment is a logistic function. In order to coordinate various branches and to ensure smooth flow, Directorate General Operational Logistics (DGOL) has been created. However, the management and control of the logistic services has not been brought under a unified single management or control, which gives rise to a number of intra-service logistical problems , thereby making the task of DGOL difficult [25]. Utilisation of army budget also is a problem area as the QMG Branch, which is responsible for large portion of Army's logistic planning, spends almost two-fifths of the army budget [26]. Thus the staff support is highly fragmented and does not approximate to the concept of integrated logistic support.

IAF Logistics

In IAF, the Logistics Branch handles all the equipment, materials management and distribution functions [27]. At the Air Headquarters, Air Officer-in-charge Maintenance ( AOM ) and Air Officer-in-charge administration ( AOA ) perform functions similar to those of the AG and the QMG in the army and partly similar to those of MGO. The AOM is assisted by four Additional Chiefs of Air Staff ( ACAS ) and Air Officer Logistics ( AOL ). The AOM to a large extent, provides single point management and control, wherein all specialist aspects of aircraft and equipment maintenance, overhaul and provisioning of stores in respect of each weapon system is looked after. In addition, the 'Initial Provisioning Committee" and " Maintenance Planning Teams " provide logistic support for the newly introduced aircraft and weapon systems [28]. As regards, functions of AOA, he is assisted by two ACsAS and controls administrative aspects such as organization, works, accounts, legal ,medical, pay and provost.

Navy Logistics

In Navy, the Chief of Materials (COM ), a Principle Staff Officer to the Naval Chief at Naval Headquarters is responsible for entire Logistics management function in the Navy. He is assisted by the Controller of Logistics Support, who functions directly under the Chief of Material and deals with logistics support, clothing and victualling, armament supply and transport. In addition, there are two Assistant Chiefs of Materials aiding the Chief of Material to deal with Systems and D&R. The Chief of Personnel (COP) heads the personnel branch and handles the medical services, recruitment, welfare and service conditions [29].

Analysis of the Existing System

An analysis of the existing logistics system reveals some glaring and profound weaknesses which need to be redressed forthwith, in order to obviate potential adverse effects on our national security. The systemic weaknesses are pronounced in the fields of our logistic organization, both at national and services level and also in our failure to integrate our logistics system. The later, in fact, is a manifestation of a flawed organizational set up, being carried forward as a legacy of the colonial times. That so many past studies and writings by experts on the subject have failed to elicit the attention of the decision makers concerned is a sad reflection on our system and underlines a lack of overall national perspective for logistics. Further, it is apparent that the decision making structures at the national and services level are either inappropriate or simply unresponsive. Our logistic system, though has taken the obvious weaknesses and the shortcomings in its stride and has delivered the goods in all wars fought by us in the post independence period. As such, it is of utmost importance that the obvious shortcomings are identified and addressed in order to integrate and optimize our logistics system as a true component of the "National Effort", needed to respond to growing threats to our national security.

Shortcomings of our Logistic System

Organisational Weakness. At the top echelons of the MOD and Chief's of Staff Committee ( COSC ), "Defence by Committees" is the accepted style of functioning, which is hardly conducive to efficient functioning. The Service chiefs are responsible for operational and logistic preparedness, but exercise little or no control over budget and provisioning of war like material, which remains the direct prerogative of the MOD.

No National Level Organisation. Neither any national level organisation exists to oversee, coordinate and integrate our defence needs with national development nor any visible efforts are seen towards orienting national level logistical planning to our defence requirements.

Lack of Common Logistic Doctrine. Despite " jointness " and "integration" being the buzzwords, the three services have failed to evolve a common logistics doctrine and philosophy of logistic support.

Multiplicity of Logistic Agencies. There is a multiplicity in logistic agencies with no single authority responsible to the Chief of Army Staff ( COAS ) for logistics preparedness. Lack of centralized logistic support encourages duplication and wasteful expenditure.

Multiple Procurement Agencies. Multiple procurement agencies in the services with lack of interaction, work against the principle of economy and lead to increased costs.

Lack of Standardisation and Codification . It leads to duplication and high inventories. Multiple stocking echelons ,too, lead to a high level of stocking and is compounded due to lack of an integrated systems approach to determine stock levels. A vast range of assorted equipment, both imported and indigenous, has only exacerbated the problems of providing effective logistics backup [30].

Inventory Automation. Despite commonality of procedures, separate inventory automation has been undertaken by all three services, thus violating the administration principal of economy.

Private Sector Involvement in Defence Research and Development. Despite the dynamic changes ushered by " Defence Procurement Procedure " 2005 & 2009, the private sector involvement in defence research & development and defence production has not reached the desired levels.

Attitudinal Change towards logistics, In Indian Army, an attitude has been prevalent for long, wherein logistics consideration in an operational plan are invariably given short shrift under the mistaken belief that a commanders tactical brilliance will some how compensate for inadequate consideration of logistics. The practice of not involving the logistics functionary in formulation of operational plans and then leaving the logistics planning entirely to logisticians is an inevitable recipe for disaster.

Mobilisation. Mobilisation involves movement of men and material, wherein move by rail is carried out under the aegis of the Operational Rail Movement Plan (ORMP). Though the plan has been validated during " OP VIJAY ' and " OP PARAKRAM ", concerns remain as regards the move and dispersion of strike and dual task formations as also the creation of requisite infrastructure for unloading / loading at railway stations concerned. Besides this, shortage of defence rolling stocks exist which will inhibit speedy mobilisation.

Functioning of Ordnance Factories and the PSUs. Director General of Ordnance Factories and the Defence Public Sector Undertakings are major defence manufacturers. However, the present organisational structure precludes the optimum functioning of these organisations. Despite being an intrinsic part of Defence Minister's Production and Supply Committee ( DPSC ) , the Ordnance Factory Board ( OFB ) usually functions independently and in any case is not accountable to the Army or the defence, though the funding for the OFB is made from the Army Budget. As such, the Chief of Army Staff has very little say with respect to production and priority in delivery of items. The OFB items also have quality concerns especially in general stores and clothing items.

Multiple Echelon System. The multiple echelon system which is existing as the chain of supply to the field formations need critical examination and reduction of echelons where feasible. Logistics support need not be the same across the board for all formations in the country, it can be tailor-made to meet the requirement of a particular sector, the terrain, the type of operations and equipment likely to operate in the area. This will cut down the time factor for move from source to the field formation.

Push Model. The push model of pumping the logistics requirement of troops forward has been partially implemented in certain areas. It needs to be implemented across the board to ensure that the troops do not have to look over their shoulders for logistics support.




The US Armed Forces have a highly efficient and responsive logistic system, based on a dynamic organizational structure which has evolved to meet the ever changing operational requirements. The Defence Logistic Agency ( DLA ), a US Department of Defence ( DOD ) agency supplies the nations military services and several civilian agencies with the wide ranging logistical support for peacetime and wartime operations as well as emergency preparedness and humanitarian missions [31]. The DLA Director reports to the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics through the Deputy Under Secretary of Defence ( Logistics and Material Readiness ).The DLA has evolved from Defence Supply Agency ( DSA ), which worked on the "Single Manager Concept", wherein eight service agencies viz army, navy, air force etc handled one commodity each and became DSA supply centers.

In 1977, DLA was established with the aim of centralizing the management of common military logistics support and to introduce uniform financial management practices. Later, the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, for integration of US Armed Forces, identified DLA as a combat support agency. In Feb 2000, a new DLA organization structure - part of an integrated plan called DLA 21 - integrated all distribution depots of the military services into a single, unified material distribution system to reduce overhead costs and place them under DLA for management. It also created four major sub agencies under the DLA as under :-

  1. Def Logistics Support Command ( DLSC). Responsible for integration of logistics operations, supply chain management, readiness and contigency operations support. It is also responsible for procurement, storage and distribution of consumable parts, fuel, medical, subsistence and clothing and textile support. It has subsequently been reorganised as DLA Logistics Operations Directorate ( DLALO J-3 ).
  2. Def Contract Management Command. Responsible for DODs primary contract administration activity.
  3. Information Operations. Responsible for DLAs information technology activities to enhance e-commerce, logistics support system and document automation in support of military logistics.
  4. Financial Operations. Responsible for streamlining DLA's financial system for agency's future initiatives.

UK System

UK, too, has been a fore runner in initiation of defence reforms, which began with the Strategic Defence Review ( SDR ),1998. The Review included an in depth re-examinattion of the structure and performance of the then existing 44 defence agencies. The SDR created an appointment, Chief of Defence Logistics (CDL) wef Apr 1999 to head the Defence Logistics Organization ( DLO ). His mandate was to reorganize single service logistics support into a tri service logistics organization with improved responsiveness and accountability. The DLO began functioning from Apr 2000 and was the British answer to a unified logistics organization with the CDL exercising full budgetary and management responsibility for the single service support areas. The functions of procurement, repairs, storage and distribution, transportation, defence estate management and various other logistics functions were rationalized and resulted in efficiencies and reduction of costs [32].

On 02 Apr 2007, Defence Equipment and Support ( DE & S ), a new procurement and support organization with in the UK MOD was formed. A new appointment of Chief of Defence Material ( CDM ), a four star officer, was created to head the MOD's Defence Procurement Agency and the DLO and the CDM was directly made responsible to the Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support. As regards the mission statement of DE & S, it is " to equip and support UK armed forces for operations now and in the future " [33].

Russian System

Since 1991, the Russian defence logistics services are known as Rear Services of the Armed forces of Russia. The Rear Services had its origins in the rear or logistical service of the Armed Forces of the USSR, which was created simultaneously with the Soviet Army. Traditionally, the rear of the Armed Forces consisted of the logistical service, with its special logistical units, subunits and establishments, and combat units holding integral logistics reserves as an organizational component. Also, the logistical service has always been a link between the armed forces and the national economy of the country[34].

In present times, the logistical service is responsible for food, clothing and military equipment supplies, maintenance, storage and distribution. It is headed by a Chief of Logistics, also called as Deputy Minister of Defence and compromises of the HQs, nine central directorates, three specific services, comd and control bodies, territorial offices and organizations [35].

Chinese System

The Chinese People's Liberation Army ( PLA ) had included logistic reform as a basic component of its comprehensive modernization programme which began 25 years ago. However, before looking at the organizational structure through which the PLA deals with logistical questions, it is important to understand the scope of what "logistics" typically entails. "Logistics" usually includes provisioning and supply of material such as food, water, uniforms, equipment, petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL), ammunition, construction materials, transportation of finance; equipment maintenance, repair, research and development, testing, acquisition and disposal, and building and maintenance of facilities for troops in the field or in garrison. In contemporary Chinese military terminology all of these functions fall under the concept of "comprehensive support," which includes the separate categories of "logistics support" and "armament (or equipment) support" [36].

The PLA has two separate but related systems to manage its "comprehensive support" needs. The first is the national-level General Logistics Department (GLD) which oversees "logistics support," and the second is the General Armament (or Equipment) Department (GAD or GED) which has jurisdiction over "armament support." The GLD system is responsible for providing the general purpose supplies all PLA units need, such as food, shelter, uniforms, and fuel, as well as transportation, medical, and financial support. The General Staff and General Political Departments complete the set of four General Headquarters Departments which are responsible to the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest command authority in the Chinese government and communist party. Located in Beijing, the departments are responsible not only for oversight, but also for policy within their domains.

As regards logistics reforms, the CMC enacted a program in Dec 1998 for logistics reform covering the under mentioned aspects :-

  1. Integration of logistics for the three services.
  2. Standardization of supply work to include centralized procurement.
  3. Conversion of officer perquisites into cash allowances (to pay for housing, insurance etc ).
  4. Outsourcing of support functions.
  5. Inculcate more professionalism and scientific inputs in logistics management.
  6. Improving mobile logistics support for units away from their bases.

By 2000, the PLA formed Joint Logistics Departments (JLD) in all seven Military Region headquarters. In addition, "joint" logistics staff officers, who understand the needs of all services, are being trained and assigned to headquarters staffs. Accordingly, the PLA Air Force and Navy transferred responsibility for many depots, supply bases, hospitals, maintenance and repair units to the control of the Military Regions in which they are located. The JLDs, and their subordinate logistics sub departments, provide support functions common to all services, while supplies and support unique to a single service are provided through that service's own separate General Armament (or Equipment) Department. Also, PLA reserve units, too, have undergone reforms wherein, a Reserve Logistics Support Brigade.has been established by each Military Region [37]. Hence, it is evident that despite a relatively late initiation, the CMC has been able to achieve integration of PLAs defence logistics system.

Isreali System

In Isreali Defense Forces ( IDF ), the Technological and Logistics Directorate in the General Staff is responsible for its logistics responses and tasks [38]. It has three main administrative services namely Logistic Corps, Medical Corps and Ordnance Corps. The Directorate centralizes the logistical activity in the IDF to include the transporting of supplies, shipments of fuel, construction, transport, the building of military bases and maintainenance of medical infrastructure. The Logistic support is based on the under mentioned principles : -

  1. Centralised control.
  2. Allocation of strict priorities
  3. Maximum use of civil resources
  4. Distribution forward.
  5. Improvisation, intensive salvage and use of local and captured materials.

Pakistani System

Pakistan has a National Logistics Council (NLC), which is responsible for mobilising the entire nation during wartime, especially the transportation needs [39]. It has also reformed its defence logistics system by placing its logistics bases under a logistics grid system. A Chief of Logistic Corps, who is a Principal Staff Officer to the COAS is responsible for coordinating all logistics activities in the logistic areas. These logistic areas function directly under the General Headquarters and possess the the inherent flexibility to operate ahead and provide intimate logistic support to the combat forces.



Logistics Philosophy

The threat perception, operational imperatives and logistics imperatives have already been analysed in Chapter III of this paper. In the backdrop of all the considerations so far, it is visualised that the Logistics Philosophy should be as follows:-

  1. Defence logistics must be integrated with the national infrastructure and national development plans together with integration at the inter services level.
  2. There should be centralised direction, co-ordination and control of complete gamut of logistics activity within the service under a 'Single Manager'.
  3. Plans must exist for speedy mobilisation by optimising all means of transportation to cater for short warning period. Infrastructure in the private sector and dual use facilities available ex trade must be optimally exploited for outsourcing to reduce military logistics.
  4. Logistics organisation should be streamlined by minimising the layers and should be tailor made where feasible, with dual attributes of co-responsiveness and cost effectiveness.
  5. Logistics support structure in support of formations/units permanently deployed in defences should be tailor made to meet their specific requirements. For offensive formations, apart from making them self reliant for immediate battlefield requirements, tailor made logistics nodes should be suitably established for subsequent sustenance. To meet this requirement, there is a necessity to accordingly develop logistics infrastructure.
  6. Need for cost effective equipment management system, embracing the whole life cycle from concept to discard and disposal.
  7. Reduction in inventories to exercise economy through a system of outsourcing and by adopting modern inventory management techniques, including automation.
  8. Develop infrastructure in the Eastern Theatre to meet the high level threat from China beyond 2012. Infrastructural development must be an ongoing process commensurate with likely threat perspective.
  9. Logistics support system must absorb state of the art technologies and scientific management techniques to enhance logistics efficiency.

To measure upto the logistics philosophy evolved, there is a necessity to reshape the existing logistics set up at all levels. The reshaping has to be thought off with special emphasis on the suitability to the Indian conditions, constraints and economy. The reshaping has been addressed in this chapter at the National level, MOD level, Army headquarters level down to division headquarters level.

National Level

A nations war waging ability is derived from its ability to mobilize and employ its economic and industrial resources. Being a national effort, prepration for war encompasses all facets of the country's economic, infrastructural and technological activity. A dedicated body at the national level is therefore required to coordinate and integrate the vast gamut of defence needs into the country's development plans.

As various advanced military powers have already achieved integration of their defence logistics support with their national economies, it is essential that an organization like National Logistics Council ( NLC ) be established to function as the apex body for all defence logistics needs [40]. Keeping in view the government set up of our country, this apex body should be headed by the Defence Minister. Under him, apart from Chief of Defence Logistics ( CDL ), who should be common to all three services, there should be an additional secretary from each of the important ministries with functional responsibilities. The NLC should also have representatives from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry ( FICCI ), Confedration of Indian Industries ( CII ) and also from organizations directly concerned with logistics infrastructure. This organization should be established as standing organization of permanent nature and should evolve five year logistic plans in consonance with the national five year plans. It should also evolve long term 10 to 15 year perspective plans. These short and long term perspective plans .should be dovetailed with Defence Services Perspective Plans and would facilitate inclusion of defence logistics and infrastructure develop as part of national development and commitment. The broad mission of the NLC would be to ensure optimum utilisation of national resources ; industrial mobilisation and achieving cost effectiveness. It will determine the broad frame work for building infrastructure for developmental and defence needs to meet the national objectives and contingencies. It will also formulate broad policy guidelines at a strategic level on areas including national industrial war effort, transportation infrastructure, energy use, strategic war reserves etc and will act as a coordinating agency between different functional ministeries [41].

Should a consensus on establishing NLC elude us, a Strategic Logistic Agency under the aegis of "Planning Commission" should be created. Such an organisation should be staffed by suitable civilian and services officers and will be responsible for coordination, perspective planning and integration of defence needs with national development goals [42].

Ministry of Defence ( MOD ) / Inter Service Level

Our bureaucatic system has been inherited from the British, wherin MOD functions as a superior military headquarters and exercises final authority on all proposals, initiated by defence services. Though the long pending remodelling of higher defence control structure involving integration of the services headquarters with the MOD was carried out in 2004, it failed to address the key issues raised by the services. First, the Chiefs of three Services ought to be responsible for and manage their respective Service along with integrated finance, with out any approval by civil servant's . Second, the Chiefs should have direct access to the minister. Also,the restructured MOD should have four segments each under COAS, the CNS, the CAS and the Defence Secretary. The Defence Secretary would be responsible for the budget including bulk allotment, procurement, inter ministerial matters, liaison with states, defence production organisations and their co-ordination, parliamentary questions, management of tri-service organisations. All professional matters of the three services will be managed by the three chiefs as part of MOD. The Defence Minister will have four advisers dealing with him in their respective fields of responsibility. The Principle Secretary to the Minister should be a service officer. Co-ordination will be achieved by the Defence Minister's Committee.

In the re-modelled structure, after the budget has been allocated and the overall plan has been approved, the Service Chiefs will have the powers to manage their budgets. It will not only entail considerable reduction in overly protracted decision making process but also allow optimum utilization of the somewhat excessive manpower currently employed in the ministry. To ensure continuity and as a measure of checks and balance, the system of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force Councils to be chaired by the minister with the service Chief concerned, PSO and Defence Secretary as members should be adopted. Cosmetic changes of appointing a few military officers in the MOD without basic changes in the responsibilities of the Defence Secretary and Chiefs will not work.[43]

As experience has shown, above proposals for restructuring of MOD will most likely face resistance from well entrenched bureaucracy, hence, the least, that needs to be done is to empower the Service Chiefs with overall management of budget in consultation with integrated financial advisors, once the MOD carries out the yearly budget planning and firm allocations. Concurrently, it is proposed to establish an org called Def Lgs Agency on the lines of the US' DLA and the erstwhile DLO in UK to coordinate and control the logistic requirements of three services. It will facilitate long overdue integration of our logistics system and also control all defence lgs orgs under the MOD such as DGQA, DRDO, defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories. The proposed org should function under the CDS ( presently the COSC ) and will be the sole interface on behalf of the three services with the National Lgs Council ( NLC ). The org will be staffed by service personnel possessing expertise in lgs mgt.

Army Headquarters Level

The inadequacies and shortcomings of our system have been most glaring on two counts ; firstly, in so far as no single functionary is responsible to the COAS for overall lgs preparation and secondly, the absence of an integrated logistics support system to support our war effort. To obviate the above shortcomings would involve firstly, integrating various services like Ordnance, Medical, Supplies, MES etc into an Army Logistics Corps and secondly, as stated earlier, a system where Army, Air Force and Navy are provided integrated lgs sp by creating a Defence Logistics Agency ( DLA ).

The proposed Army Lgs Corps will bring all the services incl MES, Medical, entire procurement under one head to be nominated as Chief of lgs, who will work in direct concert with DGMO, plan the entire gamut of material support and will be resp to the Army Chief for overall lgs prep of the Army.

Army Logistics Corps. An organization such as an Army Lgs Corps will be a dynamic org and will offer relative gains, somewhat offset by inevitable weaknesses.

  1. Advantages
    1. Single Manager Concept. User and Supplier has to interact with only one agency.
    2. Concentration of budget utilisation.
    3. Reduction in duplication.
    4. Reduction in administrative lead time and involvement of all supporting agencies.
    5. Improved indigenisation and vendor performance cells.
    6. Scope for reduction in logistics troops strength.
    7. The system would be a forerunner for an integrated system for the three services.
  2. Disadvantages
  1. Span of Control becomes large.
  2. High degree of co-ordination essential.
  3. Automated MIS is mandatory.

It is therefore highly essential that a "Chief of Logistics" who will be a PSO to the COAS is created forthwith. He shall have under him all the service heads and all other logistics elements, who shall be subsequently amalgamated to constitute the Army Lgs Corps in a latest time frame not exceeding four years ie by year 2013. The creation of Chief of Logistics will allow implementation of the Single Manager Concept and will impart a professional and focused impetus to our ability to successfully meet the lgs imperatives of fighting short wars in a nuclear backdrop. A proposed organisation under the "Chief of Logistics" is recommended as under :-

  1. Maj MJS Syali, Integrated Logistic System for the Armed Forces, Trishul Vol X No 1, 1997, PP 33.
  2. http: // en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isreali_Logistics_Corps on16 Dec 09
  3. Army Head Quarters, Administration in War, Vol 1, p4
  4. PM Mathew, Colonel, Logistics Perspectives For Armed Forces - 2015, Defence Management Nov 1999-Apr 2000, PP 68-69.
  5. PM Mathew, Colonel, Logistics Perspectives For Armed Forces - 2015, Defence Management Nov 1999-Apr 2000, PP 68-69.
  6. Swaran Singh, Limited War, PP 5.
  7. Khurshid Khan, Limited Nuclear War, Internet Article downloaded on 10 Dec 09.
  8. Robert Osgood Limited War : The Challenge to American Strategy, PP 1,2,13.
  9. Swaran Singh, Limited War, PP 56.
  10. Kissinger Nuc Wpns & Foreign Policy pp
  11. Ibid 10.
  12. Robert Mcclintok, The Meaning Of Limited War. PP. 5
  13. Morton H Halperin Limited War in a Nuc Age PP 2.
  14. James H Pold, General, The New Short War Strategy, Military review, Mar 1976. PP 59
  15. Firdaus Ahmed.
  16. Chari Nuc Stabilty in South Asia, Manohar Publshs, 134, 142-146).
  17. Jasjit Singh " Dynamics of Limited War " Strategic Analysis Oct 2000. )
  18. Chari / Firdaus Ahmed The Impetus Behind Ltd War, IPCS Jul 24, 2004, Article No 800.
  19. Khurshid Khan Article Internet downloaded 10 Dec 09.
  20. Indian Army Doctrine 2004
  21. Article Downloaded from Internet
  22. Ibid 20.
  23. Col Ashok Kapur, Integrated Logistics System - A Future Necessity , Combat Journal Aug 1991, PP 72.
  24. Brig Vinod Anand, Joint and Integrated Logistics System for the Defence Services, Strategic Analysis, Vol XXV, No 1 PP 89
  25. Pramodh Sarin, Brig (Retd), Military Logistics, The Third Dimension. PP 359.
  26. Vinod Anand, , Brig (Retd), Joint and Integrated Logistics System for the Defence Services, Strategic Analysis, Vol XXV, No 1 PP 92.
  27. Air Book Air 1, Issued by DSSC PP 72,73.
  28. Pramodh Sarin, Brig, (Retd), Military Logistics, The Third Dimension. PP 361
  29. Navy Book Navy 1, Issued by DSSC PP 8,11.
  30. Vinod Anand, , Brig (Retd), Joint and Integrated Logistics System for the Defence Services, Strategic Analysis, Vol XXV, No 1 PP 93.
  31. http: // www.GlobalSecurity.org on 16 Dec 09
  32. Vinod Anand, , Brig (Retd), Joint and Integrated Logistics System for the Defence Services, Strategic Analysis, Vol XXV, No 1 PP 95.
  33. http: // en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Def_Forces on16 Dec 09
  34. General of the Army SK Kurkotkin,' Logistics of the Soviet Armed Forces', Soviet Military Review, No 8 1978, p.2
  35. http: // www.mil.ru/eng/index.shtml on 16 Dec 09.
  36. http://www.jamestown.org/programs/chinabrief on 16 Dec 09.
  37. Ibid 35.
  38. http: //en..wikipedia.org/wiki/Isreali_Logistics_Corps on 16 Dec 09.
  39. Vinod Anand, , Brig (Retd), Joint and Integrated Logistics System for the Defence Services, Strategic Analysis, Vol XXV, No 1 PP 95.
  40. Brig Vinod Anand, Joint and Integrated Logistics System for the Defence Services, Strategic Analysis, Vol XXV, No 1 PP 101
  41. VK Singh, Col, Managing Change : Strategy for Defence Logistics, Defence Management, Apr 2007, PP41.
  42. Pramodh Sarin, Brig, (Retd), Military Logistics, The Third Dimension. PP 370.
  43. Vohra, Op Cit. PP. 493.

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