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SECAF addresses logistics professionals on future missions

by Staff Sgt. Monique Randolph

11/27/2007 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne spoke about the future of Air Force logistics before a crowd of more than 1,300 officers and civilians at this year's annual Logistics Officer Association National Conference.

"For some time now, I've been talking about a new way of war, and you all have an enormous role in that," Secretary Wynne said. "During the 20th century, we moved from a type of war based mainly on industrial might to one centered around technology. Today, the biggest challenges in technology we are seeing involve information, and those changes have some big implications, not only for war as a whole, but for logistics in particular."

Air Force logistics of the future will involve more advanced communication to meet reorder, resupply and maintenance requirements. From the manufacturer to the user, there must be greater connectivity to meet the needs of the joint customers Air Force logistics serve in today's war, he said.

"In the new world, the demands on logistics and logisticians will be even higher," Secretary Wynne said. "Today, battlefields are spherical. Ground units are expected to function way beyond their traditional fronts or lines of communication. Our lines of communication must flow vertically, often bypassing hostile terrain and forces. Logistics needs are dynamic and require rapid adaptation and response."

The goal of logistics in the battlefield is to create persistent situational awareness, the secretary said. Information technology such as global positioning systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and the Remote Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, or ROVER, provide enhanced situational awareness of people on the ground, better allowing logistics systems to meet ground forces' needs.

"Information technology is changing the way the Air Force fights," Secretary Wynne said. Using "vertical logistics," such as precision airdrops, the Air Force is already taking convoys off the roads.

"We've come a long way in a short time," the secretary said. "We're dealing with a highly complex world of new technologies, but the future is incredibly bright. Technologies are being developed to help you. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open, and look for ways to improve. You are essentially changing the way America will go to war in the future, and saving lives everyday on the ground."

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