Army Fields Faster Tactical Re-Supply System
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
MILWAUKEE, Sept. 15, 2004 The Army is now using satellites to enable units to request needed supplies faster during wartime operations, a senior U.S. officer said here today.
Under the new system, units on the move would stop for about a half hour and employ satellite dishes to communicate their re-supply needs back through the logistical chain, Army Lt. Gen. Claude V. Christianson noted during a roundtable discussion at the National Defense Transportation Association conference.
The new system, Christianson said, was successfully tested in May and June during exercises held at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. Christianson is the Army staff's logistics chief.
An integrated wireless computer system, the general noted, enables tactical units to collaborate on their requirements to replenish needed items.
About a year ago combat units in Iraq needed between five to eight days to transmit their logistics requirements into a national supply database, the general said. Today, he said, supply requests from Iraq are being transmitted, on average, in less than half a day.
Use of commercial satellite technology, Christianson pointed out, is an important part of the new, networked logistics communication systems.
Concurrently, noted Vice Adm. Keith W. Lippert, commander of the Defense Logistics Agency, outdated computer systems in the military supply system are being replaced with newer technology.
As DoD continues to implement new technologies across the military supply system, Christianson observed, this helps to provide "real-time awareness" for both forward-deployed military customers and vendors.
"We'll be able to see down to the lowest level" on the battlefield, Christianson concluded.