Executive Summary

TECHNOLOGY FOR LOGISTICAL SUPPORT OF FUTURE NAVAL FORCES

The Navy and Marine Corps have started transforming their logistic operations to accommodate a new national security environment and new needs of naval operations. It is, by and large, a management task: changing the way logistic functions are accomplished, and revising traditions, cultures, and organizational prerogatives that have served naval logistics well for many years. This is tantamount to reengineering the logistic system. However, as one looks to the future, technology will play an essential role in enabling the desired changes. Technology will help make feasible the new logistic capabilities needed to support future warfighting concepts and the type of efficient, responsive logistic system that naval forces will demand. The topic of this report is the application of technologies for logistical support of future naval forces over the next several decades. The panel assumes an operational context for logistics: supporting naval force operations in an overseas littoral area. The panel concentrates on the most fundamental of logistic processes, the activities on which the Navy spends 30 percent of its budget ($22 billion in 1995):1

  • The management and movement of materiel in support of U.S. naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore; and

1  

This estimate includes only supply, maintenance, and transportation activities. It does not include medical services, construction, facilities maintenance, and a variety of other support services sometimes categorized as “logistics.”



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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Executive Summary TECHNOLOGY FOR LOGISTICAL SUPPORT OF FUTURE NAVAL FORCES The Navy and Marine Corps have started transforming their logistic operations to accommodate a new national security environment and new needs of naval operations. It is, by and large, a management task: changing the way logistic functions are accomplished, and revising traditions, cultures, and organizational prerogatives that have served naval logistics well for many years. This is tantamount to reengineering the logistic system. However, as one looks to the future, technology will play an essential role in enabling the desired changes. Technology will help make feasible the new logistic capabilities needed to support future warfighting concepts and the type of efficient, responsive logistic system that naval forces will demand. The topic of this report is the application of technologies for logistical support of future naval forces over the next several decades. The panel assumes an operational context for logistics: supporting naval force operations in an overseas littoral area. The panel concentrates on the most fundamental of logistic processes, the activities on which the Navy spends 30 percent of its budget ($22 billion in 1995):1 The management and movement of materiel in support of U.S. naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore; and 1   This estimate includes only supply, maintenance, and transportation activities. It does not include medical services, construction, facilities maintenance, and a variety of other support services sometimes categorized as “logistics.”

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force The design and maintenance of weapon systems so as to maximize their operational readiness. MANAGING AND MOVING MATERIEL The ability of naval forces to deploy and remain on station in international waters—and to maneuver, engage, and redeploy quickly across the sea-land interface—makes them a versatile military force in littoral areas. This variety of naval operations generates several very different types of logistic activity that, while sharing the common goals of managing and moving materiel, do so under different operating conditions. Different capabilities and different technologies are needed to be effective. The panel discusses the technology needed to manage and move materiel in three areas: (1) supporting naval forces at sea, (2) supporting the evolving Marine Corps concept of Operational Maneuver From the Sea, and (3) conducting logistics-over-the-shore operations. Supporting naval forces at sea. The Navy’s under-way replenishment methods, though efficient in moving materiel from the logistic ship to a combatant, may leave the combatant with supplies hastily stowed, sometimes requiring “all hands” working parties and several days before they can be stored properly, locations can be recorded, and most importantly, the stores can be issued. Information and packaging technology should soon be available to enable resupply points and logistic ships to know enough about the configuration of each ship, the ship’s storerooms, strikedown routes (from the deck, where materiel is received, through hatches and passageways to storerooms), and locations of materiel on board to permit packaging, labeling, and sequencing of deliveries for efficient strikedown and storage. New technology will make it possible to deliver supplies to combatants in “warfighter-ready” status, just as commercial retail firms are delivering merchandise “shelf ready” or “rack ready.” Replenishing vertical-launched missiles at sea is difficult, slow, and dangerous even in calm seas. It is nearly impossible under less benign conditions. While the Navy is working on improving this capability, finding and installing more efficient means of rapidly rearming and loading missile launchers at sea must be pursued. Further, the combat logistic ships that currently shuttle supplies to ships at sea are nearing the end of their operational lives. The time is opportune to perform a systematic, comprehensive assessment of the process of supporting ships at sea, including the role that containers can play in efficient storage, handling, and movement of materiel. Based on such an assessment it will be possible to design not just the next generation of shuttle ships, but also the at-sea logistic system of the future—the way supplies are stored, packaged, labeled, tracked, and handled on board both logistic ships and combatants. Supporting Operational Maneuver From the Sea. Under the new concept of Operational Maneuver From the Sea, the Marine Corps will seek to provide

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force from ships 25 or more miles offshore much of the logistic support traditionally provided from the beach support area. To succeed with a substantially sized force, the Navy and Marine Corps will need to develop new capabilities in logistic command, control, and communications; sea-basing of platforms; and ship-to-unit transport of supplies. To meet mission requirements while presenting as small a logistic footprint ashore as possible, logistic operations will have to be rapidly planned, tightly controlled, and precise in delivering the necessary support when and where it is needed. Command and control of logistic operations will depend on applying technologies for automatic identification and tracking of shipments; for monitoring truck and materiel-handling equipment performance; and for automatically reporting supported units’ expenditures of ammunition, fuel, and supplies. It will also require creating the analytic tools—models, simulations, and algorithms—needed to use effectively the vast amounts of available data for early recognition and anticipation of logistic requirements; for identification, assessment, and selection of alternative courses of action; and for monitoring of the status, progress, and performance of logistic operations. All will depend on long-range, secure, assured communication of a steady stream of digital data updating files on unit locations, supply status, equipment performance, parts availability and shipments, and the myriad of other details needed to coordinate logistic activities. Logistics will require the same high priority for communications traditionally reserved for operations and intelligence traffic. If logistics is to be sea-based, the Navy and Marine Corps will need the capability to perform at sea, in large enough volumes, the equipment maintenance and materiel distribution functions now performed ashore. The panel believes that either a new-design, dual-role amphibious warfare ship or a ship designed specifically to support sea-basing operations will be needed. Under Operational Maneuver From the Sea, the distances between deployed units and their sea base of logistic support could well exceed the capabilities of existing transport. With units well inland, much of the logistic operation will depend on air transport. The heavy-lift helicopter will be the workhorse, and the current helicopter, the CH-53, will have to be upgraded to increase its range at maximum load. Precision airdrop and unmanned aerial vehicles could complement vertical-lift capabilities. Eventually, a new-design, very-short-takeoff-and-landing, tactical transport is likely to be needed to span the distances that modern warfare creates between logistic bases and maneuvering combat units. The ship-to-beach transport burden will fall on the air-cushion vehicles, which, although very capable, are expensive to operate and somewhat fragile. A relatively inexpensive, high-speed, ragged lighter would be a valuable complement. Conducting logistics-over-the-shore operations. Although the most challenging task will be to support amphibious operations, most sea-to-land logistic operations are likely to occur under relatively benign conditions, without strong enemy opposition. When possible, offloading will take place at established ports,

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force using commercial port facilities. When such facilities are unavailable or inadequate, ships will be unloaded onto lighters or rapidly assembled causeways for movement of cargo ashore. Today, such “logistics-over-the-shore ” operations are severely limited by adverse weather conditions. Rough seas (sea state 3 and higher) bring these operations to a halt. Because calmer conditions exist only about half the time in many areas of the world where military operations are most likely, developing the capability to conduct logistics-over-the-shore operations in rough seas is essential. The Navy and Marine Corps should give high priority to developing the stabilized cranes, lighterage, improved causeway systems, roll-on and roll-off discharge facilities, and portable ports needed for such operations. MAINTAINING WEAPON SYSTEM READINESS Maintaining the readiness of weapon systems—ships, airplanes, trucks, howitzers, and other equipment—is a major activity of naval forces, employing 47 percent of the Navy’s active-duty sailors and 24 percent of active-duty marines. Reducing the maintenance needed and the learning required to perform that maintenance more effectively and efficiently could have substantial payoff in freeing up personnel and budgets for other needs. Information technology holds the promise of changing fundamentally the way readiness is maintained and reducing resource requirements. It will do so by providing all participants in the process of producing and supporting a weapon system the knowledge to make “best” decisions throughout its life cycle. Pulling together the many applications of information technology focused on weapon system readiness will be the key to exploiting the capabilities these systems offer. During weapon system design, the use of computer-based digital databases and simulation will enable design engineers and logisticians to assess the reliability and maintainability features of a design, identify any design-induced logistic problem early, and feed it back to design engineers for correction. This is the point of greatest leverage in maintaining readiness because there is no substitute for designing high reliability into a weapon system. Logisticians will be able to design and develop logistic and training packages concurrently with weapon design, improving the match between weapon system and support. Digital databases will permit the establishment of sound configuration management—the foundation of effective logistic support —throughout a weapon system’s life. Computer-based training will permit reducing the time required for technical training, improve skill retention, and move some training out of the classroom to job duty stations. The combination of embedded sensors, digitization of technical data, worldwide telecommunications, and intelligent software will make available to the maintenance technician, on a portable digital display, up-to-date and accurate status, diagnostic, and repair information. This “interactive electronic technical manual” will be tied electronically to the supply system so that correct parts can

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force be identified, ordered, and provided from the most readily available sources, all without the need for error-prone, manual input of data. Tests indicate that such an Integrated Maintenance Information System (IMIS) can reduce maintenance time, maintenance errors, and parts use and can enhance success in performing maintenance tasks. Real-time information, rapid transportation, and rapid manufacturing will help reduce today’s large inventories at operational sites. Assured, secure worldwide communication of logistic information will enable total visibility and efficient use of assets. Real-time tracking of shipments will permit anticipation of parts arrivals, detection of delays or misshipments, and adjustment of priorities. CONCLUSIONS Logistics, on the scale required to support naval forces in a littoral region halfway around the world, is an immensely complex, difficult undertaking, performed always under trying and often hostile conditions. The conditions of the future promise to be no less challenging, and in some respect perhaps more so, than those of the past. Only responsive, focused logistic activity will enable the conduct of military operations within the action time lines needed for mission success. Meeting these high expectations in the future will require new logistic capabilities and new ways of accomplishing logistic tasks. Technology will play essential roles in both. Information technology is likely to offer the greatest leverage in creating the logistic system of the future. It will offer logisticians at every operational level the data to anticipate or respond to logistic needs, to assess and select best courses of action, to make the best use of logistic assets, and to control the flow of logistic support. The panel highlights three areas in particular that it believes can benefit substantially from the use of information technology: (1) planning and controlling the flow of supplies to naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore; (2) providing the logistic command, control, and communications needed to support Operational Maneuver From the Sea; and (3) maintaining weapon system readiness. Advances in handling and transport of materiel also will be necessary to support the type of military operations expected in the future. The major new capabilities that technology must provide are rearming missile launchers at sea; providing a sea-based support platform, low-cost, high-speed water craft, and air transport to support the evolving Marine Corps concept of Operational Maneuver From the Sea; and conducting logistics-over-the-shore operations in rough seas. Advances also will be needed to fully exploit the advantages of containers in moving and managing materiel. The full benefit from technology, however, will be gained only by applying it in the context of logistic enterprise processes that draw together, in an integrated and deliberate design, all relevant activities to accomplish specific goals.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Technology, particularly information technology, will enable logistic processes that differ substantially from the traditional ones. Rethinking how logistic functions should be accomplished, designing enterprise processes that will be feasible in the future, and charting paths to the creation of these new processes will be the keys to exploiting technology. In short, the Navy and Marine Corps should use new technology to change the way logistics is accomplished, not simply to perform current tasks better. Several new logistic ships will be needed in the next decade or so —replacements for aging shuttle ships for ammunition and stores, replacements for the maritime prepositioning ships whose lease is expiring, and possibly a new sea-based support ship to sustain Marine Corps operations from the sea. These new ships will represent major, long-term investments in logistic capability. Their designs should be integral parts of the logistic processes they will support during the next 30 to 40 years. This is an opportune time to examine and design the logistic processes of the future. RECOMMENDATIONS The Navy and Marine Corps should take the opportunity now, before starting the design of new logistic ships, to define and design future logistic processes, from the sources of materiel to its delivery in warfighter-ready condition to naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore. Once the logistic processes are designed and the roles of logistic ships have been decided, the Navy should examine the desired characteristics of new logistic ships to see if they can be met by a common design, a modular design, or a design that is convertible to alternate roles. The Navy and Marine Corps should learn how to exploit the advantages of standard shipping containers in supporting naval forces at sea, from the sea, and over the shore. Containers offer efficiency, control, and security in transporting and handling materiel. With emerging technology for load planning, content tagging, and shipment tracking, containers can be transformed from dumps of randomly stowed materiel to virtual supply depots of immediately accessible materiel that is warfighter ready. The Navy and Marine Corps should develop and apply to logistic operations the emerging information technologies that promise to enable management of processes as integrated enterprises supporting naval operations: Automated marking and identification technology to eliminate manual input of critical logistic data; Sensors and intelligent software for monitoring logistic activities (e.g., shipments and maintenance) and for carrying out routine actions automatically; Displays and software for assimilating, presenting, and making easier to use the vast quantities of data;

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Modeling and simulation, for real-time planning, assessment, and selection of courses of action; and Distributed collaborative planning, for rapid coordination of resupply actions among the supplier, the transporter, and the user. The Navy and Marine Corps should formulate and commit to a long-term plan—a path of evolution—to guide technology development, investment, and fleet implementation of a standard integrated, information-based process for maintaining weapon system readiness. The process should encompass the entire life cycle of a weapon system, from acquisition to disposal. The plan should give particular attention to current weapon systems, to infrastructure and common support needs, to integration of industry capabilities into the process, and to developing and exploiting the capabilities of the following technologies: Integrated digital weapon system databases; Computer-based technical training; Integrated maintenance information systems that tie together information relevant to a technician’s task and present it at the point of use in the most usable form; Sensor-based diagnostic and prognostic software; and Automated identification, tracking, and control of parts, supplies, and shipments.