Research Paper: Military Logistics

Pages: 12 (4026 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Military  ·  Buy This Paper

Military Logistics

PRESENTATION OF DATA ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS

An analysis of how the battlefield logistics contractor policy in the Department of Defense can be reformed has been performed. This analysis came from the surveying of 26 program managers, but did not include the Air Force. The research was based on existing data that was compiled by the researcher, and it looked at supply, maintenance, and transportation as areas where logistics were a concern and where PBL implementation could or could not be completed. Additionally, how much of a difference PBL implementation made was examined, because it was hypothesized that there would be definite differences seen between PBL and non-PBL as it applied to various areas of logistics within the different branches of the military. However, there were no guarantees that this would be the case, and it was necessary to make this determination based on the information that was compiled and the data that existed regarding logistics and how they affect the military in the present day. Not all data is reliable, but this data came from accepted sources that can be expected to have a high degree of reliability and validity regarding this issue.

To reiterate and bring the reader up-to-date with the actual requirements of the study, the following three questions have been analyzed here and will be answered by the researcher in this study:

1. What are the barriers and how do they influence PBL implementation?

2. What are the enablers and how do they influence PBL implementation?

3. What strategy and actions would lead to more successful PBL implementation?

PBL is becoming a vital part of the military's ability to get things done, both at home and away. The reason behind this is that the current logistics systems are not as effective or efficient. The military is spending a lot of money to handle its logistics, but that has not negated the high degree of problems that are still seen (DOD, n.d.; Coogan, n.d.). Money should be spent efficiently, and money that is being spent inefficiently is hurting the military and the people the troops are fighting for, because the troops do not have what they need and cannot get the equipment that they must have in order to do their jobs efficiently. PBL is not just about getting items to the troops, though. It is also about getting items to the actual military as a whole, from defense contractors and others who are building and shipping components, parts, and completed items, to others who are working with the DOD to provide needed goods.

Data Display and Discussion

According to the data that was collected, there were numerous instances of misunderstandings when it came to the PBL concept, resistance to its initiatives, and problems in implementation. Many individuals who work in the DOD and other areas of the military are not clear on what PBL is and how it can affect their finances and other areas of their equipment and logistics (DOD, n.d.). Because of the lack of understanding, it is clear that more work has to be done. The areas that were explored were maintenance, supply, and transportation, and all of the areas were lacking in understanding and efficiency. PBL is primarily needed to forecast what is needed in specific areas and conditions. Although the forecasts are far from perfect, they are able to make "educated guesses" about the equipment that will be needed, how many troops should be in a particular area, and whether there will be enough transportation and enough supplies for those troops. How the equipment and vehicles will be maintained is also seriously important - and the most easily overlooked.

Out of the 26 program managers surveyed, 22 were not entirely comfortable with the concept of PBL, and 15 of those individuals were actually unclear as to how it would work. There was a high degree of skepticism among all of the managers when it came to whether they thought that PBL would be better for them than the current method of logistics. Of course, it is to be expected that there will be resistance to change - but the wide-spread and clear resistance that is seen in the military is more than just being unsure about something new. Even the four program managers who were comfortable with the concept of PBL were still skeptical about whether it could help them enough to be worth changing over to it. Two were willing to try, and the other two were very reluctant.

The 22 who were not comfortable with PBL mostly felt that way because of what they had heard from others, and what they had experienced with companies in the past where PBL had been used. It was not clear whether those companies had used PBL correctly, or whether the incorrect usage of it might have contributed to how the program managers felt about PBL in the present day. Of the 15 who were not clear as to what PBL was or how to use it, 12 had no real desire to make changes to the current logistical plans that were used and three were interested to find out about PBL and whether it would be able to help them move into a newer and better way of doing things. The military is, in many ways, just like any other business. It performs a service, and it needs goods and services from suppliers so that it can continue to perform that service correctly.

Getting the right items and the right services at the right time is highly vital to its operations, and PBL is a way in which that can be accomplished. However, it will only work if it is used correctly and consistently. A lack of correct use of PBL is one of the largest barriers to its usage, because people who do not find a new style of doing something to be efficient or helpful will generally choose a different style - or simply go back to the old way of doing something. That makes complete sense from an emotional standpoint, but it may not make sense from a logical (or financial) one. The DOD is aware that PBL is difficult because of the learning curve associated with it (DOD, n.d.). That does not mean that PBL cannot be valuable to the military, though, because it is often necessary to move large quantities of humans and equipment hundreds or even thousands of miles. Doing that as efficiently and as inexpensively as possible is what PBL is all about (Coogan, n.d.).

Data Analysis

An analysis of the data that was collected from the program managers shows that the largest barrier to PBL is the lack of understanding about it, closely followed by a lack of desire to actually use it. In short, people do not want to change what they already do and what they already know, because they would rather keep doing things the way that they have done them in the past. That is unfortunate, because PBL is the preferred method currently in place with the DOD. The DOD sees the benefit in using PBL, and it is finding that using it more often is resulting in cost savings that would not have otherwise been realized. Another important barrier to PBL, however, is cost. Even though the long-term affordability of PBL is better than using older methods, not everyone is onboard with using PBL and not everyone finds that it saves money. When implemented incorrectly, it can actually be more expensive - which simply underscores the need to handle PBL correctly, learn all that can be learned about it, and work to improve it in any way possible.

The largest enabler for PBL is the fact that the DOD has moved toward using it consistently. Without the consistent use of something, the highest level of efficiency cannot be achieved. Because of that, the DOD is enabling better PBL simply by using it frequently and by making sure that everything that is being done in the military when it comes to maintenance, supplies, and transportation is running smoothly and with PBL in mind. Of course, there are still areas where PBL falls short, and there are times when the DOD may elect not to use it for a particular mission. The reasons behind that can be obvious in some cases, but they may also be more hidden because the DOD does not offer up everything it does for everyone to study. That could compromise missions and put troops in great danger, so it is to be avoided at all costs. Getting information is sometimes one of the most difficult things for a study of this type, since individuals in the DOD are not always forthcoming with information that can be used to study how troops are supplied.

Another enabler for PBL is the results that are seen when it is used correctly (Coogan, n.d.). As the DOD sees its military spending dollars go further, it will be interested in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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