Advanced logistics systems scale down mountains of supplies

The Defense Department's efforts to improve logistics by increasing asset visibility paid off in Iraq. Although the supply lines were attenuated, they did not fail the troops at the front line, said Joseph Kampf, president and chief executive officer of Anteon International Corp., Fairfax, Va.

At the same time, the ability to better track supplies reduced the mounds of equipment and food containers that usually accumulate behind the lines.

"We didn't have an iron mountain; we had iron hills. We could lower the number of days of supplies that we needed in theater, because we had good in-transit visibility to the theater," said Army Brig. Gen. Robert Cone, director of the Joint Forces Command's Joint Center for Lessons Learned.

As a result, integrators will see demands for even greater control of the supply lines.

Anteon is the prime contractor on the Joint Logistics Warfighting Initiative, a project sponsored by the Defense Department's deputy undersecretary of defense for logistics and material readiness and the Joint Chiefs of Staff director for logistics.

This initiative seeks to demonstrate how commercial technologies, such as radio frequency identification tags and real-time data sharing software, can be used to further enhance logistics readiness.

"We think there is a lot of streamlining that still needs to be done on the supply chain," said Steve Peck, president of public services for SAP AG, Waldorf, Germany. SAP's enterprise resource planning software supports logistics systems for the Army and Navy.

Peck said that with commercial technologies in place, the military could do advanced modeling to find out what they may need in times of combat.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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