Is Consolidation Being Overemphasized for Military Logistics?

by Marygail K. Brauner, Jean R. Gebman

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The DoD has been consolidating logistics and related support functions for many years in an effort to reduce costs. With the current drawdown, the pace of this effort has increased. Lessons from the private sector suggest that this will not reduce costs. When implemented in large operations, consolidation can create a system that is less responsive and thus, in the case of military logistics and support, unable to sustain warfighting capabilities. Innovative business practices, such as technology exploitation, process redesign, inventory reduction, and delegation of decision authority, have a proven track record in reducing costs and improving service. This issue paper suggests that such practices may be what the DoD needs to deliver responsive logistics at the least cost. The benefits they can provide are likely to outstrip what can be achieved by continuing to emphasize consolidation.

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