Cover: Thinking Small--Technologies That Can Reduce Logistics Demand

Thinking Small--Technologies That Can Reduce Logistics Demand

Published 2000

by Calvin Shipbaugh

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback38 pages Free

Microminiature devices promise to revolutionize logistics support. MEMS--tiny micromachines--and the field of nanotechnology, which develops components at the atomic level that use the physical properties of atoms and molecules, hold great promise for reducing the demand for logistics products and services. The use of microsensors and microprocessors will improve the precision of military weapons, thereby reducing the demand for ammunition. This in turn decreases transportation requirements. MEMS can expedite transport of supplies and help reduce waste and spoilage. MEMS should enable the Army to achieve reliability, decreasing failure rates for systems and prolonging the time between needed maintenance actions. Embedded sensors can help with security and safety issues. In the longer term, nanotechnology may have military applications in such critical areas as power sources and biomedicine. "Virtual" manufacturing through nanotechnology may provide a breakthrough for logistics supply and repair processes. For the coming revolution in technology to be applied smoothly to the U.S. Army, the Army must be vigilant in monitoring and embracing these new developments.

Research conducted by

Originally published in: Army Logistician, PB-700-00-2, v. 32, no. 2, March-April 2000.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.