Army pictures logistics modernization

Knowing what warfighters on the battlefield need and being able to get them the necessary supplies as quickly and accurately as possible requires that members of the military logistics community share a common operating picture among themselves and with deployed troops.

Maj. Gen. Wade McManus Jr., commander of the Army's joint munitions command, said a common operating picture will enable the Defense Department to be more "predictive and proactive...and technology will get us there."

Speaking Feb. 5 at a defense logistics conference in Arlington, Va., McManus said the common operating picture should include taking advantage of automatic identification technologies, such as radio frequency tags and bar codes, as well as maximizing in-transit visibility of supplies and automated deployment tools.

Army logisticians need to know what's happening on the battlefield, including weather conditions, terrain, personnel, communications and intelligence. Then, they need to use that information combined with in-transit visibility data and warfighters' requests in order to get the "right stuff to the right unit at the right place at the right time," McManus said.

The Global Combat Support System-Army is being built using many commercial off-the-shelf tools to bring together tactical logistics, wholesale operations and joint operations, McManus said.

Even though the its system is still about two years away from being completed, the Army is already using a joint common operating picture for logistics that includes Web access for the other services. That capability enables McManus' staff to meet the many orders for bombs and munitions coming from the Navy and the Air Force in support of the global war on terrorism, he said.

The military services' individual global combat support systems ultimately will support DOD's Global Command and Control System, which features a common operating picture that commanders worldwide use to control and manage forces as well as obtain near real-time graphical snapshots of friendly and potentially enemy forces.

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