Nothing is Simple in Afghanistan: The Principles of Sustainment and Logistics in Alexander's Shadow   [open pdf - 717KB]

"In 329 B.C., Alexander the Great led his Macedonian army east from Persia, along the Helmand River, through Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul before crossing the Hindu Kush mountain range with approximately 100,000 troops and followers. After more than 2,300 years, the most modern militaries on earth struggle to sustain their forces in the same lands. Alexander's execution of his Bactrian Campaign in what is now Afghanistan exemplifies why modern military historians consider the Macedonian king both a great tactician and a genius in military logistics. This article examines why supply distribution in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan is so difficult. U.S. Army Field Manual 4-0, Sustainment, contains the U.S. Army's sustainment principles for maintaining combat power, enabling strategic and operational reach, and providing Army forces with endurance. The principles are integration, anticipation, responsiveness, simplicity, economy, survivability, continuity, and improvisation. This article will consider the logistics distribution challenges posed to the International Security and Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan through the lens of these principles. It will be beneficial to first consider how a distribution framework should look in a frictionless theater. The U.S. Army's doctrine for sustainment and its sustainment brigade will best serve this task."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/
Media Type:
Military Review (September/October 2012), v.92 no.5, p.50-57
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