Cover: The Value and Impacts of Alternative Fuel Distribution Concepts

The Value and Impacts of Alternative Fuel Distribution Concepts

Assessing the Army's Future Needs for Temporary Fuel Pipelines

Published Mar 17, 2009

by David M. Oaks, Matthew Stafford, Bradley Wilson


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This document describes a study done for the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) to assess future needs for temporary petroleum pipeline structure. At the time this work was begun, the Army was weighing further development of a new pipeline capability, the Rapidly Installed Fuel Transfer System (RIFTS), and also conducting its normal cycle of future force structure planning. This project reviewed historical uses of temporary pipelines and surveyed future scenarios in order to develop a broad list of potential pipeline requirements. Next, against this list of likely requirements, the performance of several fuel distribution options — including existing and planned pipeline units and equipment, new pipeline options, and the use of trucks — was assessed across a variety of performance dimensions. The analytic results pointed to no clearly best choice. Instead, the preferred course of action is very sensitive to the decisionmaker's assessment of the environment and weighting among the importance of the different performance dimensions. A decision-support table to help the decisionmaker with this assessment is provided along with supplementary recommendations on near-term investment of reset funds and the reallocation of personnel within existing petroleum pipeline unit designs. The findings in this document should be of interest to those engaged with future Army logistics support force structure requirements.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by RAND Arroyo Center.

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