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The Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare
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SAGE Reference - Asymmetric War
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Pumphrey, ed. McNair Paper 62, November Business Week Online, 27 October Jane's Online, 12 October Manwaring, ed. October Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine, Fall Posted on the War, Chaos and Business website. Occasional Paper No. September However, the high demand for accurate, online information for decisionmakers has made information technology platforms important for logistics in LICs. The United States has used newly adopted technologies, such as radio frequency identification and total asset visibility systems, as strategic enablers. Impact of LICs on the Logistics Principles When we examined how the 13 characteristics we identified affect the 9 common logistics principles, we found that some of the principles fit the nature of LIC logistics and others do not.
We also suggested two new principles that should be adopted by militaries engaged in LICs: survivability and dynamic endurance. Simplicity emphasizes finding simple solutions in difficult situations. We found that because of the differences in military situations, sometimes within the same region, and the high tempo and the broad spectrum of contingencies, simplicity is hard to achieve in LIC logistics.
In fact, emphasizing simplicity can be the exact opposite of what is needed on the ground when complex solutions are required. Therefore, simplicity does not apply to LIC logistics. Flexibility is one of the bases of the ability to sustain troops during LICs and is an important logistics principle. Feasibility and attainability. By their nature, LICs are relatively long operations that require high levels of resources.
So it is important that they be based on feasible and attainable objectives.
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The nature of LICs contradicts the economy principle. Commanders prefer to have as many resources as they can, even in excess of actual needs, just to be on the safe side. Since one of the characteristics of logistics in LICs is the need to accurately and quickly process data on line, information is a key principle of LIC logistics success. Although combat troops in LICs disperse, their sustainment is mainly centralized. Unlike conventional conflicts, where combat troops at the battalion and brigade levels are mainly self-reliant, the logistics solutions during LICs are usually provided by the central and regional levels.
The only cases we found in which dispersion of logistics forces was implemented was during deployment of medical troops. Therefore, we conclude that, for the most part, dispersion is not a principle of logistics in LICs. Continuity and coordination. Although continuity and coordination in LICs are relatively hard to achieve, we found that this principle is important and supports sustainment efforts.
Timeliness is critical to success during LICs.
The tempo of the conflicts and the importance of tactical missions that sometimes affect strategic decisions make it an important principle. This principle calls for defining the level of responsibility of each headquarters and commander in each stage of an operation. It sometimes requires defining the responsibilities of each country to sustain forces in coalition operations.
During international operations such as NATO operations, the principle of responsibility reflects the need to define the role of each participating country. We added two new principles: Survivability. The principle of survivability was adopted by a few armies, but it is not very common.
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We found that it is critical for logistics troops to develop survivable platforms and procedures in order to sustain combat troops. Dynamic endurance. Endurance is the ability to withstand hardship or adversity. We defined dynamic endurance as a principle that emphasizes the need to sustain forces during contingencies throughout a conflict until its end, even if it takes years.
In the last chapter of our book, we looked at the history of how military revolutions appeared and at current and future trends in warfare. Modern theories like the revolution in military affairs, the fourth generation of war, and others suggest that asymmetric warfare will dominate future confrontations and replace traditional linear battles. As a consequence of this trend in warfare, we expect logistics to evolve into three operational levels.
Related Conflict in Afghanistan: Studies in Asymetric Warfare
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