Sunday, October 24, 2010

Amateur Tactics and Professional Logistics: The NSN and Secure LOCs

Sara Moore with the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System had a great article on a new northern supply route into Afghanistan. The Defense Logistics Agency felt that they could open a route from Germany that would move supplies in 30 to 50 days. Two trucks carrying two 20 ft containers each drove from German to Bagram, Afghanistan. This was intended to provide relief in the event that either of the two routes from Pakistan were to be closed. Again. The recent closing of the Torkham crossing caused great consternation. There even appears to be some concern that the Pakistani routes will be abandoned altogether. It was reopened recently. In an unrelated article, the U.S. just approved $2.29 billion in military aid to Pakistan.

The good news about the northern route was the reduction in travel time. The bad news is that the Taliban is reading the newspaper in Pakistan. A recent increase in attacks against the Northern Distribution Network (NSN) has been noted by NATO. On the Pakistan route we had to worry about Pakistan. On the NDN we will have to worry about Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan. We do not have to worry about the Russians. They have already refused rights to move military material across their land.

Redundant lines of communications are a must in any military operation. But if 70% of what we are hauling overland is bulk fluids and, as the Marines have found, there is the possibility to reduce the water burden by using local supplies that do not impact the local population, then we need to focus on reducing the fuel burden. Unless we produce certified biofuels locally, we will still have to haul in our mobility fuel. The focus must be on demand reduction and then, renewable energy for power production at our forward operating bases, again as the Marines have done with India Company, 3rd of the 5th Marines. The challenge there is the agility of the acquisition agencies. The tools for demand reduction are there and in use; the RE is in short supply. We heard loud and clear last week from the policy side of the house. We now must turn words into action.

The Association of the United States Army is meeting for their Winter Convention this week in Washington. The associated tradeshow is a cornucopia of military capability. What COMDEX is to wireheads, AUSA is for warheads (yours truly included). I will attend and report back on energy trends for installations and FOBs. The pickings have been slim in recent shows as regards energy; it will be interesting to see what the professionals are thinking now. Whether it is potential or kinetic, it is all about energy. Dan Nolan

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