Army seeks native data analytics in its logistics systems

Data analytics 

The Army is looking to have native data analytics in its logistics systems to be better prepared for supply chain vulnerabilities.

Lt. Gen. Duane Gamble, the deputy chief of staff, G-4, for the Army, said that as the service modernizes its enterprise resource planning systems, it is looking for native data analytics capabilities to avoid what he called "predictable" surprises.

Speaking at a Nov. 15 Hudson Institute event supply chain disruptions, Gamble said the military had to modernize enterprise resource planning to help mitigate insecure lines of communication.

Gamble said the pandemic sharpened the Army's focus on implementing business analytics and intelligence for its current enterprise resource planning systems, but the ultimate goal is to have a system with "cooked in" prognostics that's part of the enterprise business system, which he said is considered a warfighting system for logistics, to give the Army enterprise, strategic, operational, and tactical levels to do continuous monitoring.

"Let's not be surprised by the perfectly predictable," Gamble said, adding that visibility can illuminate vulnerabilities before disruptions are caused, which gives time to mitigate, prioritize and plan, and, when needed, stock up.

Gamble said more resources may not necessarily increase a system's resilience. "I'm not sure that throwing more money at the problem is the solution," Gamble said. "I believe that using the tools we have today and in some cases the systems we have today -- whether they are complex weapons systems or simple other systems -- in a different way based on the insights that data gives us I think will lead us to, maybe, cost reduction."

Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO of Interos, said supply chain resilience and the transparency that comes with that are the new status quo for business practices and shouldn't necessarily come with a price tag for the government.

"This should not be if you want supply chain risk [management], it's going to cost you an extra $1 million a year. That's not what we should be accepting. We should be looking at this as the cost of doing business."

Bisceglie suggested that vendors would emerge to provide this capability without added costs. "So by the government not getting real specific and prescriptive about this and partnering with industry and saying: this is the outcome I need," she said, "industry is going to figure it out."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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