Cover: The Line Between Disorder and Order

The Line Between Disorder and Order

Reflections on RAND's Role in the Evolution of Air Force Logistics Thought and Practice

Published Oct 28, 2020

by Robert S. Tripp


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This report documents the history of the interactions between RAND Corporation logistics researchers and Air Force leaders over more than 40 years to inform decisions involving logistics planning, programming, and budgeting and to develop, maintain, and evolve an approach for improving the Air Force logistics system. The narrative covers a period in which the demands made on the Air Force logistics system became more dynamic, complex, and costly—an era in which increasingly sophisticated weapons were joined by a growing appreciation for the importance of readiness, sustainability, system reliability, and uncertainty in Air Force and RAND thinking about military logistics.

These reflections illustrate why the impact of expert research and analysis on entities as large and complex as the Air Force logistics system is sometimes not immediate. Although the path to impact is not always straightforward, a vision of clear principles can help guide logistics and other forms of research over time. By retaining deep knowledge and expertise in logistics and in the overarching themes that have guided RAND's logistics research for the Air Force over the past 40 years, RAND researchers can be ready to engage on these key themes and enduring questions over the long term.

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This research was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted within the Resource Management Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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