A technique for determining viable military logistics support alternatives
Hester, Jesse Stuart
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A look at today's US military will see them operating much beyond the scope of protecting and defending the United States. These operations now consist of, but are not limited to humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and conflict resolution. This broad spectrum of operational environments has necessitated a transformation of the individual military services into a hybrid force that can leverage the inherent and emerging capabilities from the strengths of those under the umbrella of the Department of Defense (DOD), this concept has been coined Joint Operations. Supporting Joint Operations requires a new approach to determining a viable military logistics support system. The logistics architecture for these operations has to accommodate scale, time, varied mission objectives, and imperfect information. Compounding the problem is the human in the loop (HITL) decision maker (DM) who is a necessary component for quickly assessing and planning logistics support activities. Past outcomes are not necessarily good indicators of future results, but they can provide a reasonable starting point for planning and prediction of specific needs for future requirements. Adequately forecasting the necessary logistical support structure and commodities needed for any resource intensive environment has progressed well beyond stable demand assumptions to one in which dynamic and nonlinear environments can be captured with some degree of fidelity and accuracy. While these advances are important, a holistic approach that allows exploration of the operational environment or design space does not exist to guide the military logistician in a methodical way to support military forecasting activities. To bridge this capability gap, a method called A Technique for Logistics Architecture Selection (ATLAS) has been developed. This thesis describes and applies the ATLAS method to a notional military scenario that involves the Navy concept of Seabasing and the Marine Corps concept of Distributed Operations applied to a platoon sized element. This work uses modeling and simulation to incorporate expert opinion and knowledge of military operations, dynamic reasoning methods, and certainty analysis to create a decisions support system (DSS) that can be used to provide the DM an enhanced view of the logistics environment and variables that impact specific measures of effectiveness.