Very few armies will ever be able to lay claim to be the world’s strongest military. The United States (US) military has always led the charge (at least since WW2) in this respect, and it remains as one of – if not the most – effective militaries in the world. But, what exactly does it take to become as powerful as the US military? It is not just the weapons, the well-trained personnel, or technology. There is one thing the US military does that sets it apart from other militaries – logistics, otherwise known as the art of moving armies and their supplies.
The logistics expertise of the US military was tried and tested during World War II. The final years of the war were defined as a war of attrition, where it was no longer just a matter of which military force could field the more powerful troops and equipment. Rather, it involved which side could sustain an offense and outmanoeuvre the other.
The German defense failed because many of its industrial capabilities were taken out and several supply lines were cut off. The Invasion of Normandy is a textbook example of this principle.
A few hours before Operation: D-Day, the Allies dropped about 13,100 paratroopers deep into enemy territory in order to prevent the German defenders from reinforcing Utah Beach, the designated landing point for the Allied seaborne troops. While the paratroopers secured key roads and villages, the main invasion force stormed Utah Beach. The next day, the Allies landed about 156,000 troops and were able to establish supply lines to the front lines.
Always There, Always Ready
Modern day applications of logistics is still one of the US military’s best advantages. An army can only function at optimal levels when it is supplied with ample amounts of food, ammunition, water, infrastructure, and equipment. The US military takes great pride in its ability to move personnel and equipment anywhere in the world at short notice. A base can be set up within minutes of arriving, and a supply chain can be established just as quickly as the base itself. Everything is accounted for, much like how the Romans were trained to quickly set up and break camp as they marched toward an objective. They were able to fortify and hold the positions they took, and they could do so for extended periods of time, all because they understood the importance of logistics.
Although logistics specialists usually work in offices, they also undergo basic military training, which includes tactical training, survival training, and weapons training. Logistics personnel are tasked with managing the particulars on procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military assets. Everything from the unit’s survival food list to the weapons and ammunition needed to complete a mission are managed by logistics personnel.
The role of logistics specialists is more important than what it seems to the untrained eye. They are the very backbone of the military, and they help ensure that the troops on the ground are well equipped to deal with the obstacles that may lie ahead. If you’re planning on joining the military, this is one of the placements that you might want to aim for.