As far as the integration of Military Logistics is concerned ““ intra-service integration, to a large extent, already exists in the cases of IN and IAF. Also, Army Medical Corp (AMC), Military Postal Service, Movement Control Organisation, Military Engineering Service (MES), Canteen Service and to a limited extent even the ASC are already part of a unified service
The Directorate of Standardisation (DoS) was established within the MoD about 46 years ago. Codification is part of their charter. For which purpose, they adopted the NATO Codification System (NCS) format. Today they have a strength of about 300 personnel.
All of Europe including Russia, erstwhile Warsaw Pact Countries, USA, Canada, Australia, Scandinavia, and most of South America use the new NCS format for codification. In June 2008, India has also become a Tier I member.
The June 9, 2008 MOU with Allied Countries (AC) 135, in Brazil, has the potential of revolutionising the Indian scenario. At least as far as codification is concerned, the operationalisation of Tier I agreement with NCS has the possibility of bringing all the three services and DoS on to the same grid. This would also make it possible to remove all the technical hurdles in the way of sharing data between ILMS/IMMOL/CICP/ASMACS/ILMS (AIR) etc. However, to convert this into reality, a change in mind-set change would be essential.
Experience of the western world, in adopting an integrated and computerised logistics system has confirmed following advantages:-
- Efficient & effective logistics system.
- Higher customer satisfaction.
- Prompt response to flexible operational demands
- Large reduction in stock holdings.
- 15 per cent savings in inventory costs.
- Better sourcing contracting – leading to further 20 per cent savings.
Defence Capital Acquisition
Looking at it holistically, capital acquisition forms an important part of the overall logistics activities. Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) documents are a series of documents promulgated by MoD, since 2002. These form a near comprehensive set of documents, covering all feasible options available in defence procurement process, along with the detailed procedures involved.4
In the DPP 2006, there are some ambiguities in the new “make” subgroup, promulgated under the broad design and development category. And the “offset” options introduced need further elaboration. The proposed five-year plan for Capital Expenditure on defence is estimated to be of the order of $100bn. This would give an opportunity of extracting transfer of know-how and cutting edge technology benefits, worth at least $21bn. This must be judiciously exploited. Presumably, these would have been taken care in the next version of the document (DPP-2008), released by the Raksha Mantri recently.
The Army to establish an integrated intra-service logistics system/organisation from Corporate/Command HQs & Central Depots to field units.
Naval involvement with shipbuilding, as brought out earlier, has been so extensive that a dedicated chapter had to be devoted, in DPP-2006, to this exclusive category. The naval model has reached such a mature stage that this model could be dovetailed into a DSES (UK) model discussed earlier.
The capital acquisition process has been divided into categories. For illustration purposes – a set of typical examples has been shown at Fig. 4.
Proposed Immediate/Short Term Action Plan
- Appoint a CDS. 5&6
- An affirmative JCSC decision on the long-term need for a unified military logistics system.
- A Joint Logistics Committee to evolve and adopt an integrated codification doctrine – within a quarter.
- Garner all wherewithal available in the country, towards rationalisation of military codification system.
- Get full mileage out of following opportunities knocking at the door: –
- Tier I membership of NSC – June 9, 2008.
- Indian membership of ISO.
- Utilize all US FMS transactions – to gain full access to NSN catalogues and their supply chains.
- Russian Federation Protocol offering supply of spare parts catalogue with NSC based part numbers.
- Assistance from local ERP vendors – to integrate logistic soft ware.
- DoS to add above to their charter and give priority assistance.
- The Navy needs to take its logistics restructuring process forward and overhaul the cadre structure to give it technical orientation and make it totally inclusive.
- Rationalisation of the command structure, as applicable to logistics on the model of the IAF, would also be necessary.
- Carry forward the DGOL prescription to its logical conclusion, in line with Brigadier Sarin’s suggestions.2
- The IAF to inter-link the IMMOL’s online real time connectivity with field units and other defence aviation establishments. Command & Control will continue to remain with AOM.
- The Air Force to become more institutionally involved and committed to military aeronautical design and development projects. Utilise the openings becoming available in projects such as Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) etc.
- CICP is, in any case, all set to relaunch itself. In the circumstances, they would be expected to adopt the new NCS norms.
- In due course, the Navy & IAF, to also follow suit–the earlier the better.
- Adopt modern, ware-housing technology and supply-chain management system. Provisioning of improved mobility, mechanical handling facilities and universal use of bar-coding system etc. would go a long way in achieving higher efficiency and productivity.
- CIDS to use Andaman & Nicobar Command to develop, on priority, a pilot project to implement an exclusive unified command logistic system.
- To ensure speedy and phased execution, JCSC must immediately appoint a dedicated Dy CIDS (Logistics), if required from own resources, to steer through this important programme. Also, institute a system of quarterly SITREP from CIDS to the JCSC.
- Navy to undertake commensurate cadre structure review, and implement E&L merger of Branches and introduce User Maintainer Concept on board ships.3
Medium & Long-Term Perspective Plan
- The Army to establish an integrated intra-service logistics system/organisation from Corporate/Command HQs & Central Depots to field units.
- Implement the “out of the box option” presented for HDM.6
- Progressively, the three services to restructure infrastructure in line with the British model.
- Extend above programme to Theatre Commands as they evolve.6
- Evolve a unified/integrated logistics management structure for the three services.
- Progressively evolve a structure akin to UK’s DSES to take on the total logistics responsibilities.
In conclusion, it may be added that:-
- As far as the integration of Military Logistics is concerned – intra-service integration, to a large extent, already exists in the cases of IN and IAF. Also, Army Medical Corp (AMC), Military Postal Service, Movement Control Organisation, Military Engineering Service (MES), Canteen Service and to a limited extent even the ASC are already part of a unified service.
- The immediate and short term action plan proposed above is considered to be well within the scope of the uniformed fraternity. Only joint will and perseverance is needed.
- The urgency is such that the above need not wait, either for the appointment of the CDS or the JCSC, to arrive at a decision on adopting a unified military logistics system
- If one can come to an amicable agreement within the JCSC on such contentious an issue as the Unified/ Joint Space Command Concept, then, such mundane issues as above, could also be resolved by mutual discussions.
- Extract of Para 2(a) to NSC Directive No. C-180/1/2000 – NSCS (CS), May 17, 2000. “Since accountability to Parliament constitutes the basic feature of Government of India, the task force, while making recommendations, will examine the evolution and changes in this respect that have taken place in other parliamentary democracies. In particular, the UK model should be studied closely.”
- Brig.Parmodh Sarin, Military Logistics–the third dimension, (New Delhi: Manas Publication).
- AP Revi, “Naval Acquisition Matrix,” Indian Defence Review, Vol. 21(4), p. 82.
- Defence Procurement Procedure Version–2002/06.
- AP Revi, “Higher Defence Management” Indian Defence Review, Vol. 21(2), p. 91.
- AP Revi, “Out of box option for HDM,” Journal of Indian Ocean Studies, Vol.14 No.3, p. 418.