Do military logisticians need to be soldiers in an era of civi contracting? I have to put a paper together so i need your views or any assosiated links for a steer!!!!

Cheers Airborne
Yes, who else will deliver C sups in an operational theatre at such low cost.

Can't see many civi posties, Chefs, Drivers, Suppliers, Movers, wanting to go to an Op theatre without mil training.

In addition where will you find the qualified Pioneers, Air Dispachers, Ammunition Technicians, Pet Ops etc in civ div?

As slight steer look at the Tank Transporter / VM trades and the civilianisation of Base Depots on the "outstanding" success this has had.

Me thinks either your service paper requires retitling (probably not your choice) or you need to do a great deal more research.

Is this another attempt at cutting the capability of HMF in light of a £1bn cut coming our way.

Either way possibly the most ludicrous proposal I have heard in a long time, up there with stopping para jumps.


What an interesting idea. Give a serving officer a staff-paper bearing a suitably titled essay-subject, get him to come up with a cost-saving method of shaving money from the defence vote then pinch his idea and present it to the Treasury as your own!

Your OBE is guaranteed!

Cool 8)


A very topical point doing the rounds at DRLC at the minute, they will be able to give a more accurate steer and the party line.

For my tuppence worth:

Down at the coal-face many aspects of the military logistican could be easily replaced, eg drivers, chefs, suppliers. We already see widespread contractorisation in peace time locations and enduring ops, eg, civvi storemen, contractors in kitchens, choggi drivers etc.

However, the crux is retaining the capability to sustain war-fighting operations. Now, if we pay CONDO/CONLOG enough we will be able to find civvi drivers who are prepared to drive a DROPS of 155 to a gun line, or work round the clock in the DSA to keep supplies coming.

But it is the overarching structure and cohension that keeps the show together and the guarantee that they will do what you want everytime. That is the insurance policy that the military CSS offers. Like all good insurance policies its very expensive to maintain and thankfully seldom used.

Classic example is Op TELIC 1. The sheer volume of men & materiel that was transported, stored, supplied and distributed in such a short time frame is mind-boggling.

So, i suppose the real question is, can we go to military hierarchy of logisticians with a part CONDO / massive TA work-force. I think the answer is yes, and we're already doing it, eg, FASTRAX and the SR concept.

Whilst there were teething problems (due in no small part to poor staffing / contracts) and a certain amount of resistance (from the highest levels) the concept has been made to work.

Thanks for your views BL. however having done a stint on H4 it was again reliability of the CONDO/CONLOG tht was called into question. Once the jingley trucks started to take contacts and were intimidated, they basically rapped, it was then the css machine kicked in moving c sups around theatre also providing there own FP, interesting point.
If anything, we need more logisticians in this more expeditionary role we play.

We used to patrol the Empire, so we had extended lines of communications - ie the RAF had more transport capabilities and we could project ourselves over distance. The Cold War saw us retreating under concrete in northern Europe and not really looking further than Germany for much else. After all - the hoardes were coming from over there. The RAF turned into 'fast, pointy jet' club which hasn't changed that much yet.

Now we have no perceived threat to the mainland UK. We must do what we do when deployed - the Main Operating Base is no longer - as we never operate there. You can contract out most any role - especially support roles - but it is difficult to send theme too far forward. Even the RAF - formerly by the pool - is up there along side the Army, getting mortared and in the poo as much. That level of threat is not acceptable to the British for civilians to undertake. As we maintain these extended lines, we need more loggies across he board to support operations. In uniform. You can contract the 'Depth' area, but you need 'Forward', ie deployable, to be there in uniform.

PM if you want more specifics OAM.
Even though plagiarized off another thread the comments are pertinent

mnairb said:
If it is like the 'privatisation' of the flight simulators a few years ago, the sequence will be like this:
1. Prime Contractor wins with the lowest bid.
2. Services Tradesmen currently doing the job made redundant, with a lump sum and a pension.
3. Prime Contractor approaches said tradesmen with a derisory offer (because they bid below realistic cost) saying 'but of course you have your pension to make up your wages'.
4. Tradesmen tell Prime Contractor to poke it - Prime Contractor employs unqualified, inexperienced herbert off dole queue, Equipment poorly maintained, Prime Contractor makes lots of money.

Boggy Loggy wrote: " the concept has been made to work"

Have you seen the result that this has on Base Depots manpower recently? Army requires XYZ asap, 5 o'clock comes civi's up sticks, remaining skeleton mil manpower fill the capability gap till the job is done. Result - even lower moral = lower retention.

To civilianise soldiers jobs in an attempt to cut costs results in a poorer service for the end user and less deployable manpower when the crunch comes. If this becomes a reality it will directly impact on operational effectiveness. Would a contractor feel the same about working round the clock (48hr shift anyone) to achieve output if their motive to go to work was purely financial? I doubt this very much and my experience has been while it results in short term savings in the long run it costs more and new initiatives have to be introduced to replace it (eg Base Vehicle Depots closed whole fleet management introduced).

If it isn't broken don't try to fix it.
if you can get access to the JSCSC library try there, there is bound to have been a paper or 2 written on it.

As an infantryman with extensive op experience in loggie affiliated staff posts :? I agree with the points made already. The bottom line is that privatisation gives short term cash savings but with higher long terms costs and/or decreased flexibility. To that must be added the point already made about how far can we cut back before we lose a viable CSS base? Sponsored Reserves could be made to work I have no doubt, but I do wonder whether there is the culture and ethos to make thiem work. The military can adapt, but I wonder how many employers or civvies would be signing up to this with the current state of op commitment.

It would be interesting to look at the American experience of this, especially since 2001. They have traditionally been a logistically light army relying heavily on contractorisation to provide 3rd line and elements of 2nd line support. I am not sure whether they have made this work in Iraq and Afghanistan as efficiently as our system does. The US system does work, but they spend a lot to ensure that it does. Could we afford to lose materiel at the rate they do?
Why not simply employ some drivers, chefs etc from the civilian sector as MOD employees.
That way you aren't paying for the contractors profit.
I should imagine many tasks do not need the fitness levels expected of front line troops, nor to they need to be particularly young, a 45 or 50 year old fella can drive a truck as well as anybody, probably better.
Cant see the point in paying a contractor to make a profit when you could just employ people to do the job yourself.
What is needed is not full contracterisation but the establishment of DRLC as an Agency that supplies to the operational requirement with a totally seperate budget.
Thus when any Operation is planned the J4 staff identify what the requirement is ad pass that requirement to DRLC with n appropriate amont of money to provide the goods. DRLC then source the items and provide them to fulfill the requirement.
It works really well as the funding has to be sufficient before the start of the Op to satisfy the J4 stated requirement. Thus making Senior Staff fully accountable - if they don't provide sufficient funds from the outset, insuficient stores will be available at the sharp end.


My view would be that you absolutely must have military loggies - able to operate across the spectrum of conflict under all conditions. yes there are no doubt savings to be made in 'the Base' but there problems in too many cuts. Not all Inf/ RAC/RE spend all time at Regimental Duty. Instructor posts and such things provide a career structure and some 'down time.' Cutting too far into the Base leaves loggies at RD with all instr posts civilianised - thus affecting (adversely) retention. I would submit not many British civis would be too keen on driving 20000l of fuel into Basra Palace - but that is why we use Johnny Foreigner!!

In addition, this is a dangerous argument to pursue. You COULD (at significant operational risk) civilianise some jobs - but they might not turn up when the whistle blows. In addition, consider the further extrapolation of the idea. UAV operators - not in the direct fire battle, so civilianise them. Same detail R Sigs personnel, almost all RE personnel and most of the REME. Before you know it, for cost purposes everyone outside of a Battlegroup COULD be a civilian. And Blackwater, Kroll etc prove that most of the OOTW direct fiire business COULD be done by contractors too.

So, careful how you write your paper, as the cold financial logic would say that standing armies are an expensive anachronism if a private mil contractor can provide the same service.


quote: So, careful how you write your paper, as the cold financial logic would say that standing armies are an expensive anachronism if a private mil contractor can provide the same service.[/quote]

Do not be cautious, challenge the received wisdom for who are we to take money from schools, infrastructure, hospitals etc if there is a cheaper way of defending the Nation's interests.

Sponsored Reserves (SR) are offering ministers a viable alternative to a standing army. Todays its tank transporting but the logic readily extends across the boundaries of arms and services. Once we have unburdened ourselves of the current level of commitments we can then get down to funding a small standing defence force of high readiness specialist organisations from all three services supported by SR on a lower state of readiness. SR, WFM, C veh PFI its all leading in the same direction.

It's supposed to be a peace dividend but there's just one vital ingredient missing!
overedassaultmode said:
Do military logisticians need to be soldiers in an era of civi contracting? I have to put a paper together so i need your views or any assosiated links for a steer!!!!

Cheers Airborne

All Q staff are logisticians too should they not be with the rest of their unit at the front line.
[quote="irlsgtAll Q staff are logisticians too should they not be with the rest of their unit at the front line.[/quote]

I think that is an oversimplification. Loggies will be in place throughout the supply schain in various appoitments to ensure the smooth flow of supplies, transportation and C Sups. Of course it helps if you Government provides the right assets (Aircraft, vehicles, ammo etc) to do the job - otherwise you just muddle through like we do!!


Using CONDO is like G3 using Wild Geese - Mercenaries.

You can rely on contracted support when all is going well, but when it gets dodgy then it can quickly become life threateningly unreliable. You need people who are prepared to win Gallantry medals, not dollars, to be in support of you. Green is best in all cases, only out source in the base and in boring jobs - the DLO (DES now?) for example, as nobody in their right mind wants to work in it. Haven't met anyone yet who liked the experience apart from the insane and unemployable (civvies).
This idea has all of the hallmarks of a serious disaster in 20 years time or less. The "good" bits will be plagiarised by somebody in Whitehall and the "bad" bits ignored.
As a simple man I would base any argument on 3 simple themes:

Covenant v Contract (assuming that the mil covenant will re-balance at some point)

The mil covenant calls for unconditional and unlimited commitment to a task, whereas the contract is conditional and finite.

So what? Mil loggie possesses virtually unfettered personal commitment/sacrifice, flexibility, multi-roling and enduring attributes, whatever the nature of the task, whereas civ loggie offers commitment and sacrifice and a degree of endurance, flexibility and multi-roling but restricted by pay, conditions, time and personal considerations.

Doctrine v Process

The mil loggie adopts the manouverist approach + mission command to a task. The doctrine reads right across the Army, is aligned with and focussed upon the end-user (BG) and practised, to a degree of regularity, with the end-user. This allows for swift changes of plans to be made at a relatively low level.

The civ loggie is process driven and schedule orientated, and a sudden switch of ME is unlikely to be able to be conducted without reference to a much higher management level. Mil doctrine will not easily read across to the civ loggie, and unless he is permanently embedded in the mil system and undergoes the same type of trg he will never truly be effective.

Esprit de Corps v Values

The mil loggie has a uniform that defines who and what he is and belongs to a clearly defined team, who live, work and play together and share enduring historical and cultural bonds. The civ loggie also has a uniform and certain values but is not so inextricably bound to the team, or has the same strong bonds, as the mil loggie.


The mil must retain it's own organic mil loggie capability with sufficient depth and breadth to sustain at least the most likely scale of ops. The depth should have sufficient reach to encompass and influence EC, procurement, and all critical nodes in the supply chain, as well as the DOB and sufficient breadth to provide the full range of loggie capabilities.

Should be complemented both by CONDO and civvy loggies who are able to provide non-enduring surge capability when required, particularly when the op has reached steady state and the recuperation phase is emerging.

Actually, a bit like we have now except that the current numbers of mil loggies are insufficient and need to increase significantly, and we need to pause before considering the erosion of any more core skills (accepting this may be counter-intuitive to my previous statement regarding flexibility) particularly in the RLC.

PAW, I agree. Don't underestimate what civlog will do at the coal-face; there are some good lads (and lasses!) and will move the civvie equivalent of heaven and earth to help if they have decent Managers.

But they ain't Toms!