Anti-Terror War Requires All-Out Logistics Effort
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 22, 2002 It may be taking a little "magic," but the military's logistics system is keeping up with the demands generated by the war against terrorism, according to Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.
Operation Enduring Freedom in Central Asia and Operation Noble Eagle stateside are requiring an all-out effort by the military logistics specialists who provide food, fuel, equipment, spare parts, weapons and ammunition, he told reporters today at a Pentagon roundtable.
"It is stressful; there's no doubt about it," Aldridge said. "We're flying the wings off airplanes and trying to haul fuel into the Afghanistan area and Pakistan basically by airlift, which is a terrible way to do it."
The undersecretary said he was briefed yesterday by the Defense Logistics Agency, which has been on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week shift since Sept. 11 to make sure people are getting the supplies they need.
"How they do it? It's magic. But they always do it," he said. "You never hear complaints. If you talk to the customers, they are delighted. They are getting everything they need when they need it."
Aldridge said the number of precision-guided munitions used in the air campaign against terrorist targets caused the military to ask manufacturers to boost production rates. Production is up for both Joint Direct Attack Munitions and laser-guided bomb units, he said.
Usage of the weapons in Afghanistan was above what peacetime stockpiles would support, Aldridge explained. "We've had to go back and readjust the production rates," he said. "We have funding in the emergency (budget) supplemental to make that happen."
Officials said DoD doesn't plan to ask manufacturers to increase the number of facilities, but rather to "tool up" current ones to meet demands. Manufacturers have gone to multiple shifts.
DoD's aims to boost production to the maximum to rebuild stockpiles as quickly as possible, Aldridge said. "The components can only be produced at a certain rate," he noted. "We'll fill (the stockpiles) up as quickly as we can, at what we can afford to do and what the facilities will permit us to do with the components that are available."
He said he's looking at production rates again to see if they're sufficient to provide stockpiles that can handle any future contingency. "That's anybody's guess as to what that might be and where it might be," he said.