An analysis of the military engineering logistics planning problem

  • David Denham

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Logistics is defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as “the art of moving and quartering troops, and supplying and maintaining a fleet”. While this definition is rather narrow, it nevertheless gives a general guide to the broad military support field known as logistics. This thesis is concerned with one of the more complex military logistics problems - namely the allocation of men, equipment and materiel to the engineer tasks associated with the movement, maintenance and support of military forces in a theatre of operations. The major factors are:
    a. tasks to be carried out by engineers
    b. the number and type of available engineer construction units
    c. stores and transport constraints imposed by other agencies in the Defence logistics system
    d. deadlines imposed by the Commander and his staff
    e. efficiency and proficiency of engineer constructions units in carrying out particular tasks
    f. risk, including (1) possible enemy action (both directly against units, or indirectly against other elements in the logistics· system) (2) adverse weather (both direct and indirect).
    Current military procedures for solving this type of problem are based on practices developed during World War II, and rely heavily on support from external sources {this was the case throughout the conflicts in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam). The recent change in Government defence policy requiring greater reliance on our own resources has meant that new solutions have had to be found to old problems. The aim of this thesis is therefore three-fold:
    a. to analyse the problem in terms of its various components
    b. to develop a method whereby the problem can be solved manually in an efficient manner (but still considering all the relevant factors); and
    c. to develop a method whereby the solution to the problem can be optimized, using computers where necessary.
    Mathematical equations are developed for all factors in the engineer logistics planning problem, and a graphical technique is developed which enables a solution to the problem to be found quickly using manual methods . The approach to the development of the graphical technique is based on some ideas presented by V.V. Kolbin in his book “Stochastic Programming”. The concept of risk is discussed in terms of a hazard factor and overrun probability, based on a “risk potential factor” concept which I developed during research for a previous degree at Sydney University. A method of optimizing the solution is described, based on combining the graphical techniques referred to above and either the “best utilization of manhours” or “least risk”. Production of the optimized solution requires the use of computer based analysis. A computer program being developed to carry out this analysis is described, and the potential benefits of the technique are discussed. The general format of the thesis is as follows: a. Chapter 1 - a general description of the problem, b. Chapter 2 - development of a mathematical model of the problem, c. Chapter 3 - description of a method which uses the mathematical model to find firstly feasible solutions to the problem and secondly to select the “best” of the feasible solutions, d. Chapter 4 - outline description of a computer program being developed to solve the problem based on the method described in Chapter 3, e. Chapter 5 - solution of a typical engineer logistics planning problem using manual methods and f. Chapter 6 - conclusions.
    Date of Award1982
    Original languageEnglish

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