Logistics: The Arbiter of Opportunity
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Despite the fact that logistics is the lynchpin of all military undertakings, logistics is a comparatively under-studied aspect of military operations. Without logistics no military plan can be undertaken, let alone succeed. In this chapter Martin argues that logistic support will determine what a commander can do, where he can do it, for how long and at what intensity. In effect, logistic support determines the options available to a commander in each and every situation. Logistics will determine, in conjunction with the forces created as discussed under Chap. 3, whether or not a commander has the ability to control events. Logistics will determine whether or not a naval force has the ability to sustain reach for extended periods. In effect, it will determine whether a commander can do the job asked of him. A naval ship or task force, Martin argues, without the right degree of afloat-support logistics will not have the full range of attributes of naval forces that naval practitioners and theorists claim for them. A state can have a very large navy but, without the logistic support to enable its deployment at distance for extended periods, it will be little more than a local defence force. Post-modern globalised states require more than local defence; they require the ability to act in their interests wherever their globalised interests are threatened and so, Martin argues, a navy aspiring to global presence must have considerable afloat support logistics.