Industry Key to Logistics Future
BY JOHN C. MARCARIO, Seapower Special Correspondent
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Logistics innovation is rapidly improving, and industry will play a vital role in that effort, a panel of military leaders said during an April 10 discussion at the Sea-Air-Space Expedition.
“Challenge yourself to be innovative,” Vincent Cappello, director of Acquisition Logistics Policy said.
While directing his comments to industry members of the audience, the director said to look past traditional assumptions when thinking of new logistic ideas, while being mindful of the budget.
He said that there is a sense of urgency for getting the logistic technology into theater, adding that information technology is the backbone of today’s logistics.
“Become more active and engaged,” Cappello said, noting that that when new logistics technology comes out, industry should give its input and comments on how the system be improved, or what is working well. He said industry representatives should try to influence the design and be part of the early stage of the innovative process.
Patrick Kelleher, the deputy director of logistics, plans, policies and strategic mobility division of the Marine Corps, said the service’s logistics capabilities, while capable, they are also expensive, few in number, more costly to maintain, require more fuel to sustain and are more complicated.
He said as other countries become more advanced in the logistics arena, the United States risks falling further behind them.
His division is spending a significant amount of time focusing on information technology modernization, while also progressing in autonomy development.
“It’s the backbone of enabling a lot of the things we are doing now,” he said.
Coast Guard Rear Adm. Melvin W. Bouboulis, assistant commandant for engineering and logistics, said the service has been making a concentrated effort to improve its logistics innovation since 2006.
Saying the service has become more flexible, responsible, resilient and affordable, Bouboulis echoed what the other panel members said, that industry will play an important role going forward.
The service’s new business model, which focuses on configuration management, product line management, total asset visibility and bi-level support concept, has allowed it to save money, and streamline services within the Coast Guard over the last decade.
Bouboulis gave the example of how the Coast Guard used this with the buoy system. Before the system was in place, the service would distribute buoys throughout the country using different vendors and product lines. Once it put everything under one shop, the service saved millions and made buoys that are more resilient.
Rear Adm. Peter Stamatopoulos, director of the Navy supply, ordnance and logistics operations division, said it is an exciting and interesting time in logistics for the service.
“Technology is moving quickly and game changing for all of us,” he said.
Noting the Navy is working on how to respond to all of these changes, Stamatopoulos said there currently is a lot of effort going on with understanding total ownership and lifestyle logistics costs.
“We have a new day coming in front of us,” he said.