1. After detailed analysis of all aspects, the hypothesis has been proven true that
there is a need to review the logistic structures within Armed Forces and propose
dynamic solutions to support their employment in conduct of joint operations in
OOAC scenario. Thus there is a need for India to maintain a viable force for likely
employment in OOAC scenario and also necessitates seamless logistic support.
Thus, it may be debated that an organisation like the OLA of the USA or the OLO of the UK is required at the Services level to coordinate the complex requirements of
military logistics. Even at the national level also, there is a requirement of a unified
body to coordinate defence and civil logistics needs and infrastructure. However,
considering the scope of this research, a suggested logistics structure to support
future employment of forces in OOAC scenario is discussed in this chapter.
2. Though there will always be comparisons between logistics models followed
by military forces of the developed countries like China, US or UK and/ or by multinational companies/ agencies vis-a-vis the system followed by our defence forces, the requirement is thus to streamline logistics organizations to suit its overseas
employability. The force structure and its duration of employment in OOAC would be
governed by likely task, relation with host country, existing threat, geo-politics, global
dynamics and many other factors. Logistics support for such a force should thus be
able to provide adequate freedom of action necessary to meet mission objectives.
This could be achieved by integrating all logistics capabilities within the operational
space, thus bridging the strategic sustainment base of our Nation to the complex
tactical environment in a way that optimises logistics readiness.
What We Need: Permanent or Task Oriented
3. The delivery of efficient logistic support during any military operation is always of paramount importance, however considering that the employment of forces in an OOAC scenario would be in a quicker time frame early inefficiencies are thus inevitable. To achieve a seamless and efficient logistic support there is a need for exploiting economies in operational logistic processes. By merely making the materials and services available would not solve the purpose; the requisite knowledge and experience at staff level would also contribute signi6cantly towards logistic efficiency.
4. Possible Scenarios. The fact remains that in case of any employment of Indian Forces in an OOAC scenario, it would be a joint and integrated venture of
min two of the three services, suitably controlled at the Headquarters of Integrated Defence Staff. In addition the force level may be upto a division or division plus,
likely to be employed in an incremental manner. However this would largely depend upon threat, national interest, host nation at home commitments and many other factors. Thus, in order to build up an argument for a logistic structure, aptly suiting operations in OOAC, the employment of forces in any of the following possible scenarios is applicable:-
(a) Overseas Island Territory. This would encompass employment of all three services from embarkation, movement through all mediums and further conduct of operations. The likely theatres of operations could be Maldives or Sri Lanka.
(b) Intervention Across Territorial Borders. The scenario for
intervention in neighboring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, etc cannot be negated. Herein, the integrated operations by Army and Air Force would yield dividends.
(c) In Support of Multinational Operations. Considering the prevailing global environment of international terrorism coupled with fall of anarchy in various parts of world, the Indian Armed Forces could be called upon to actively contribute in multinational operations comprising any or even all of the services.
5. Considering the above, what is the possible solution for a logistical structure that could suit any of the scenarios? The desired logistical efficiency can be achieved in any of the following manner:-
(a) Permanently Structured Orqanisation. A permanent/ all encompassing organisation that would provide a single/ integrated focus for the entire Armed Forces logistics through all levels, from operational upto tactical is the need of the hour. This would be permanently staffed with all representatives of services and provide interface with single service and thus contribute to economy of effort. Benefits of such structures would include continuity, preparedness and development of Well- defined working practices.
(b) Task Oriented Logistics Structure. The scope for optimising the
support is driven by the situation, with the type of structure being decided as a result of the estimate prior to deployment. This would require planners with knowledge and the structure should be controlled by commanders and staff who are trained, organized and more importantly well-rehearsed in drawing the task organized logistic structures from every single Services.
6. In our context, a “Quasi-Permanent Logistic Structure comprising a mix of the above two, duly calibrated, to meet our requirements, would be more prudent. The suggested model and its accrued advantages are discussed in succeeding paragraphs.
7. A Quasi-Permanent structure must have an inherent capability to detach as well as attach various adhoc modules. This would not only provide optimum flexibility and economy of effort but also be capable of carrying out the required logistic support based upon the envisaged task, commensurate to force level applied this structure should be ideally effective to support operational level and facilitate the Services which in turn should cater for respective logistics requirement at tactical level.
8. Pre-Requisites. Certain pre-requisite that are required to be met in order
to facilitate a functionally robust model are as follows:-
(a) Earmark dedicated force level for the envisaged task, albeit a
secondary role. This force should be adequately trained to carry out their task diligently.
(b) Pre-positioning the above force level closer to likely launch pads like air base or logistics with port facility. This would reduce reaction time as well as facilitate joint training in peace time.
(c) Training of officer as well as personal below officer rank cadre in
logistical aspects of joint nature to enhance their knowledge of all arms &
services. The aim should be to create a manpower pool comprising
commanders and staff of well trained, specialized and skilled with potential to
further enhance logistical efficiency.
(d) Formulation of a doctrine for joint operations in OOAC scenario
encompassing all the possible scenarios and force levels likely to be
employed. This should also include logistical imperatives and lay down
strategic as well as operational guidelines.
(e) Positioning of materials and stocks that are likely to be required for
such an operations also to be identified and deficiencies, if any to be made up.
9. The suggested model encompasses the following:-
(a) Strateqic Level. An organization already exists at Head Quarters,
Integrated Defence Staff headed by Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to
Chairman COSC (CISC). The aspects pertaining to operations are presided over by Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (ACIDS) Joint Operations (Jt Ops). Under the ACIDS Jt ops, functions the Director Operational Logistics (Dir OL) who is adequately staffed to cater for any nature of joint operations. Thus no change in the organisation at strategic level is suggested, however, a greater autonomy in functioning is recommended. Also additional staff from each of the services could be posted once the planning for joint operations in an OOAC scenario commences to facilitate execution at strategic level.
(b) Operational Level. There is a need for a logistic structure at operational level which would act as a functional link between strategic and tactical level. Ideally it should be based on headquarters of the highest formation earmarked for the operations. It should also have modular components represented by all services, giving it a joint as well as integrated outlook. These modules be so composed off, to cater for respective service needs as well provide adequate integration with strategic and tactical level. Further, in case, if any particular OOAC scenario warrants employment of two services only for eg Army & Air Force, then the third i.e Navy module may not be even get activated for such an operation. A suggested organization at operational level is attached at Appendix B.
(c) Tactical Level. At the tactical level, it would be more prudent for the respective Services to provide logistical support to the forces employed on ground. However this would require a seamless coordination with the structures at operational level. This would enable them to conduct operations as per the given mandate. Thus, no change is recommended at tactical level.
10. The Quasi-Permanent Logistic Structure should be tailored, so as to enable seamless planning and execution of joint operations. The advantages accrued would be manifold, however a few are discussed as follows:-
(a) Realistic Cost Savinqs. The synergy created within the planning framework of Joint Operations, would consolidate and optimize all the available resources and thus materialize into their efficient utilization. As the respective Services would pool in their resources for accomplishment of mission, which would in effect result in avoiding duplication and thus resulting in cost efficiency.
(b) Improvised Services. The logistic structure would be centrally responsible for provisioning of all resources be it material, services or medical. This would provide them better forethought, asset visibility and thus cater for pro-active and reliable services.
(c) Optimize Logistic Network. The requisite automation of services coupled with redundant communication network would lead to shorter lead time and thus simplify administration functions.
(d) Standardize Process. With the ability to function together, the respective services would be able to standardize the various logistical processes.
(e) Ease of Coordination: Command & Control. By virtue of a single commander controlling all logistic functions, it would be able to effective exercise its command functions and be able to coordinate individual service assets. The control of supply chain would be easier and its execution further streamlined. The reporting channel would bring in better situational awareness and thus affect clarity in planning.
11. Due to the necessary prerequisites of establishing a system capable of providing logistic support for OOAC scenario, a fully integrated logistics may not be feasible in a short duration and thus may not be a near term solution. However, in the interim, a ‘Quasi Permanent Logistic Structure would be more desirable. The existing conditions, futuristic Mission Based Deployments (MBD) of forces and their imperatives of operational requirements, coupled with experience of other countries are a fair indication to suggest a system where resources may be optimally shared or in other words Joint Logistics.