Army logistics, also known as military logistics, refers to the process of planning and confirming that the movement and maintenance of the armed forces is in due accordance with previous plans and procedures. It deals with procurement, maintenance, distribution and replacement of personnel and material.
Army logistics, when taken in a comprehensive sense, deals with: 1. Designing, developing, storage, maintenance and acquisition, disposition and evacuation of material. 2. Hospitalization, evacuation and movement of personnel. 3. Furnishing or acquisition of services. 4. Maintenance, operations, acquisition and disposition of available facilities.
Army logistics is as old as the concept of war. In ancient times, people used to find their own knotted clubs, place of shelter and food during the time of war. Every soldier was himself responsible for obtaining his necessities. As time went on, soldiers joined larger groups and some men were assigned the task of arranging these items for their counterparts. These were among the first instances of a military logistics organization.
Logistics cannot be termed as an exact science as it does not follow a defined set of principles or adhere to previously laid guidelines in the same manner each time. It does not even follow a predefined set of tables as in case of science. Military logistics is dynamic in nature. Therefore a particular solution cannot be prescribed for every similar situation. It is primarily concerned with ensuring services and supplies at the right time, at the right place, when and where needed, in the most optimal and economical way and by making use of the best available options to do the task.
The personnel engaged in army logistics make their decisions through their ability to analyze, interpret, and by using their past experiences and intuition. The decision-making ability of these people is not solely dependent upon their military knowledge but also their grasp of tactics, strategy, personnel and training.
Matters related to logistics have frequently been of utmost importance in deciding the outcome of wars. This can be clearly understood by taking as example the failure of the German naval force to sink enough cargo in the 2nd Atlantic Battle of the Second World War, which helped the British troops continue fighting. It is believed that the destruction of the enemy’s supply lines and guarding one’s own supply lines is a crucial element in deciding the outcome of the war.
Modern developments have led to enhanced army logistics performance due to less use of time and financial resources. This has raised the standard of the armed forces and has proved to be beneficial for their overall growth and development. Accuracy and speed are the major factors nowadays for the flow of information and materials.