The strategic logistician and professional possibility

Author: logisticsinwar

By David Beaumont.

During a logistics course in late 2017, I was asked to consider what the traits and behaviours of the strategic ‘future logistician’ might be.[1] It was a difficult question to answer without straying into explanations about strategic leadership in general. In both cases, like the rocket in the picture above, strategic logistics and leaders are ‘shot’ into the wide-blue sky with surprisingly little preparation. The topic of the ‘future logisitian’ will be discussed during the upcoming Australian and New Zealand Defence Logistics Conference in just over two weeks, and I thought it would be worthwhile touching on the points raised last year.

The requirements for logisticians operating at the strategic level of militaries has been an explicitly addressed topic by senior leaders on Logistics In War, noting many posts implicitly support the conclusion that logisticians must adapt in some way to face what is known about the future. Skills must be taught, modern technologies introduced and mastered, and logisticians exposed to business ‘best practice’. Alternatively, a number of posts (see parts one and two on educating logisticians) tackle the problem of preparing logisticians in an abstract manner and contend that because the future is unknowable, the ‘future logistician’ must be conditioned to operate where nothing is certain. Preparing the ‘future logistician’ with this in mind will not be easy.

Whichever way you look at it, there are many competing demands being placed upon the logistician expected to perform at the strategic level of defence forces. This article will attempt to describe a some of these demands, as discussed during the seminar, to highlight the complexity of the professional challenge.

Perhaps the most notable change for a strategic logistician co

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