October 1997

Chapter 1: NATO Logistics

Logistic Functions

106. It is important to recognize that the various logistic functions come together to form the totality of logistics support. A NATO logistician of one discipline will often work with a staff officer of another discipline and, as a very minimum, will have to appreciate the other's responsibilities and problems. For example, logistic planning originates in national, NATO or MNC policy guidance and has to be coordinated with all the staff branches concerned, whether they be operational, administrative or logistic, military or civil. A brief examination of the main functions of logistics shows this clearly.

Materiel Function of Logistics

107. Production or acquisition logistics covers materiel, from the first phase of the life cycle to its final disposal from the inventory. The first part of the cycle, from specification, design and production is clearly a function of production logistics. Reception of the equipment into service, its distribution and storage, repair, maintenance and disposal are clearly a consumer logistic task. However, the initial design of the equipment which is part of production logistics has to take account of the consumer aspects of repair and maintenance, and therefore involves both disciplines.

Supply Function of Logistics

108. Supply covers all materiel and items used in the equipment, support and maintenance of military forces (classes of supply are listed at Annex A). The supply function includes the determination of stock levels, provisioning, distribution and replenishment.

Maintenance and Repair Function of Logistics

109. Maintenance means all actions to retain the materiel in or restore it to a specified condition. The operational effectiveness of land, naval and air forces will depend to a great extent on a high standard of preventive maintenance, in peacetime, of the equipment and associated materiel in use. Repair includes all measures taken to restore materiel to a serviceable condition in the shortest possible time.

110. Battle Damage Repair (BDR) is an important element in maintaining materiel availability during operations. It is designed to restore damaged materiel to a battleworthy condition, irrespective of the cause of the failure, as quickly as possible. Damage assessment has to be done rapidly and must not always require the use of automated test equipment or sophisticated tools. The considerations are primarily aimed at limiting the damage, determining the cause of the damage, establishing a plan for damage repair, and minimizing the risk to equipment and operators. Once the operational mission has been accomplished, BDR must be followed by specialized maintenance or repair to restore the equipment to fully serviceable condition.

Service Function of Logistics

111. The provision of manpower and skills in support of combat troops or logistic activities includes a wide range of services such as combat resupply, map distribution, labour resources, postal and courier services, canteen, laundry and bathing facilities, burials, etc. These services may be provided either to one's own national forces or to those of another nation and their effectiveness depends on close cooperation between operational, logistic and civil planning staffs.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Function of Logistics

112. EOD involves the investigation, detection, location, marking, initial identification and reporting of suspected unexploded ordnance, followed by the on-site evaluation, rendering safe, recovery and final disposal of unexploded explosive ordnance. It may also include explosive ordnance which has become hazardous by damage or deterioration. The NATO EOD Technical Information Centre (EODTIC) holds records of all past and present ammunition and explosives, and provides an immediate advisory service on EOD problems.

Movement and Transportation Function of Logistics

113. It is a requirement that a flexible capability exists to move forces in a timely manner within and between theatres to undertake the full spectrum of Alliance roles and missions. It also applies to the logistic support necessary to mount and sustain operations.

Engineering Function of Logistics

114. The area of logistic engineering, while not exclusively a logistic function will require close coordination with logistics as the mission is very closely aligned with logistics in terms of facilitating the logistic mission of opening lines of communication and constructing support facilities. The engineering mission bridges the gap from logistics to operations and is closely related to the ultimate success of both. The acquisition, construction and operation of facilities forms the basis for the NISP. This is the term generally used in NATO for installations and facilities for the support of military forces.

Medical Function of Logistics

115. This function entails the provision of an efficient medical support system to treat and evacuate sick, injured and wounded personnel, minimise man days lost due to injury and illness, and return casualties to duty. An effective medical support system is thus considered a potential force multiplier. Though medical support is normally a national responsibility, planning must be flexible and consider coordinated multinational approaches to medical support. The degree of multinationality will vary depending on the circumstances of the mission, and be dependent upon the willingness of nations to participate in any aspect of integrated medical support.

Contracting Function of Logistics

116. Contracting has become increasingly important to the conduct of operations, particularly when operating beyond NATO's area of responsibility. It is a significant tool that may be employed to gain fast access to in-country resources by procuring the supplies and services that the NATO Commander requires.

Budget and Finance Function of Logistics

117. The areas of budget and finance impact virtually every aspect of logistic operations. The funding and budget policies to pay for deployment and sustainment and redeployment are unique. While nations are generally expected to finance their own operations, the specifics of each operation will determine the type and amount of NATO funding for that support. Often items selected for NATO funding include support of various NATO headquarters and theatre-wide infrastructure improvements.
 [ Go to Index ]  [ Go to Homepage ]  [ Go to Homepage ]