Information Systems' Driven Capabilities Redefining Logistics
Around 500 B.C., Sun Tzu quoted, "The line between disorder and order lies in logistics." More than 2,000 years later, the maxim still stands in the battlefields of today. Globalisation has created a complex web of interdependencies and threats. To protect the economic and geopolitical interests, countries are focusing on creating a battle-ready force that is responsive to the asymmetric nature of threats and are designed to be extremely agile in the battlefield. Recent events have indicated the growing importance of acting together (with allied forces) rather than conducting independent missions. This demands a high level of interoperability, both at the command and systems levels. Such operational requirements and trends are driving investment in advanced logistics information systems, aimed at providing the decision-makers (on and off the battlefield) a complete visibility of available inventory of assets and resources to plan and execute missions.
Defence Logistics Information Systems (DLIS) are at best fragmented, and for many armed forces, still a distant reality. Although we cannot discount the efforts (including ongoing efforts) of some nations that are going through somewhat of a "quantum" leap in advanced logistics (information systems), there is much to achieve. This paper focuses on presenting an overview of the global DLIS, with an aim to identify and analyse the main drivers and challenges in implementing information systems across all military segments, seamlessly integrating all echelons. The paper also explores the complex competitive landscape, which has both traditional information technology (IT) service providers and the OEMs competing for lucrative (and in today's economic times, much needed) contracts globally.