The entire idea of logistics holds the possibility of procurement, distribution, maintenance, and replacement of materiel and personnel. Consequently the important aspect of this process evolves from the CIN’s skill of recognizing what kind of forces, equipment and what amount of it should be enough for the successful outcome of any given operation. In recent years DoD’s (Department of Defense) policies have greatly effected Reserve Component personnel as they were mainly focusing on short term requirements . Predictability and long term plans on the other hand would serve better when mobilization planning is taking place and actual action to mobilize forces occur in the time of need. Therefore, mobilization is viewed as the primary task in the logistics sequence and the entire operation depends upon its successful implementation.
There are three major parts to any military occurrence regardless of whether it is a planned attack or an immediate response to the outside intrusion. Military logistics consist of, mobilizations of the force and manpower, strategic deployment and redeployment, and providing sustainment while units are in service. Clearly, the army would not be able to function successfully with one of those steps being omitted, therefore each of them are justly important to the process. Military is a strictly organized system in which everything is supported by a logical structure of action and response. In the three logistic steps that were mentioned, mobilization comes first and is truly the most important one as it sets the beginning of a great success or a failure depending on how it is being implemented.
In the U.S. army the process of mobilization provides a combatant commander with three major components that are essential for the mission accomplishment. Those three components include forces also known as units, manpower or individual soldiers and logistic support . All three of those must come into play for mobilization to take place in a timely manner. Mobilization is a five-phased procedure that is ultimately designed to be a continuous and synchronized operation rather than a sequential process with dependable parts. The five phases of mobilization involve planning, alert, home station, mobilization station and port of embarkation (POE). The five stages of mobilization start with planning which is supposed to be done mainly during peace time and thus be thoroughly thought through. At this particular step staff needs to be trained and prepared for the accomplishment of any mobilization and deployment task.
Therefore, the fundamentals are taught during peaceful time for the personnel to take necessary actions in case a crisis strikes. Taking care of any personal business such as medical, financial and family also takes place during mobilization stage and thus sets a firm base for the individuals to focus on the task. In case mobilization in being conducted correctly it automatically brings manpower into a full preparation for the accomplishment of the upcoming mission. When commander realizes that units have shortages of authorized personnel, supplies or equipment, such mistakes have to be eliminated prior to the alert stage, otherwise mobilization will cause problems during deployment process.
Preparation for the equipment retrieval, arrival at a mobilization station and collective and individual training all take place as a part of mobilization. The unit is being fully prepared for the operation activities until they physically move to the POE. When tracking all the steps of this continuous process one can notice that the entire military action is dependant on the successful completion of mobilization. In part it holds true because mobilization consists of all three major logistic stages and encompasses the entire process from the mission awareness to total combat readiness. Until the unit departs from the POE mobilization is in process. Reviewing mobilization structure and its flow one realizes that it consists of all major military operational activities that are performed in order to bring personnel from CONUSA to OCONUSA. Mobilizing staff literary means bringing all parts of the puzzle together and making them work in the shortest and most accurate way, as it allows for the military action to actually happen.
Deployment is the next big step that naturally proceeds for mobilized units. In essence, deployment is a relocation of forces from one place to another. Any given deployment however is a unique experience as multiple factors influence the stream of actions taken while deploying. There are essential steps that can not be omitted when deployment is taking place; it consists of five stages. Predeployment activities, initial movement to the POE, strategic lift, theater reception and theater onward movement are the five necessary steps that any deployment process should go through. A broad range of operations is undertaken to reallocate a capable brigade to the actual place of action. This step is extremely important as timing decides everything and in case a unit fails in being present at a certain place at a right time, the entire operation would collapse. Therefore, deployment as well as mobilization is an ongoing process with an incredibly difficult task. Bringing needed forces in the place of action at a designated time with a specific purpose accompanied by all the required resources is very challenging and also vital to the success of the combat. Regardless of the difficulty of the mission, deployment could never happen unless the units were already trained and ready for the action which could not have been done without mobilizing them first. Undoubtedly, movements from intertheater, intratheater, staging and holding are vital tasks that are performed during the deployment stage. Those, however, could hardly be done if they had not possessed enough equipment or were not scheduled for a proper strategic lift. There is also a great possibility of deployment and redeployment stages being omitted when contractors reside in close proximity to the AO . Those who are located far from the theater will require some sort of transportation by air or sea and that is when deployment occurs. The opportunity of having contractor support brings about a great chance to save numerous resources and time by not conducting deployment/redeployment.
Once all necessary military units are placed in the area of activity, sustainment part of the logistics cycle is a logical continuation. Again, sustainment as well as two other stages of the process is an ongoing activity conducted in order to maintain troops in full awareness and preparation of task accomplishment. It is one of the toughest steps to keep up with as it requires constant control from a commander and strategic vision to retain units deployable and versatile to any change that might occur. Moreover a successful sustainment development largely depends on the effectiveness of mobilization and deployment stages. In case if those two were not performed in a timely manner and carried out precise tasks, sustaining units would be a struggle. Being a conclusive part of the tri-fold mission, sustainment stage is required to embrace and bring together all necessary resources from manpower to machinery for the further completion of the operation. Challenges could be numerous; technologically inept and poorly equipped staff and scheduling errors are just a few to name. Being such a dependable part of the structure, sustainment step should be recognized in early mobilization and deployment stages. However, it is important that sustainability principles provide flexible and responsive reaction to every scenario and plan that might occur.
Military logistics system represents a puzzle with multiple parts that are difficult to put together in orderly manner. It is an uninterrupted process with the help of which counter-terrorism homeland securities as well as major wars are being fought. Mobilizing forces, deploying them into a specific region and trying to sustain units are very challenging tasks to accomplish. Nevertheless, determining capability levels each step of the way and matching it with the requirements of the present is a key strategy that will provide a factual picture of the present moment. Mobilization process being the first step in the sequence of logistic chain carries the most responsibility for the entire process. By successfully following through with all five mobilization phases the units are guaranteed appropriate deployment/redeployment performance. Consequently, mobilization is a core to the entire operation and if done in accordance with the requirements, deployment and sustainment inaccuracies would be minimized. By emphasizing this particular area of logistics the army will ultimately reframe and improve the way military operations are currently carried out.