Moving an Expeditionary Force: Three Case Studies in Afghanistan   [open pdf - 539KB]

"This monograph explores theory, history, and doctrine in order to determine if past expeditions into Afghanistan offer logistics lessons to 21st Century U.S. Army expeditions. The monograph also proposes how the U.S. Army can best deploy and supply its expeditionary forces in the future. These case studies, the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880), the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989), and Operation Enduring Freedom of the U.S. War on Terrorism (2001-Present), explore events leading to the war, deployment of forces, use and protection of lines of communication (LOC), use and supply of logistics bases, and methods of movement and sustainment throughout operations. Case study analysis incorporates criteria from current Army doctrine. Though none of the case study logistical approaches are fully viable for future U.S. Army expeditions, they offer options that the U.S. Army does not currently possess, but could. Recommendations for moving expeditionary forces of the future are twofold: first, the U.S. Army can harvest the strengths of past expeditions in Afghanistan for future use; and second, the Army can make changes in theory, doctrine, organizations, and materiel in order to improve deployment and movement practices. Deploying the U.S. Army to battle and supplying it there should be the job of the U.S. Army. This monograph concludes that to be successful in this arena, the U.S. Army will have to recognize the significance of logistics, especially transportation, and make it the top priority for military development in the 21st Century."

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