Spring into Action – Fast and adaptive logistics planning for military missions

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1. Challenge Statement

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are seeking innovative solutions for creating optimal logistics plans for military missions, and which include the ability to predict future supply requirements, account for complications during advance planning, and to permit the ability to adapt plans in real-time as issues arise.

2. Background and Context

Timely and efficient logistics support lies at the heart of every military mission from the initial deployment, sustainment of operations, to the repatriation of personnel, equipment, and supplies. The required supplies for a mission amount to thousands of individual item types, such as food and water, weapons and ammunition, fuel, housing, and hospital supplies. The quantity of supplies and the times that they are needed depend on multiple factors including, but not limited to, normal variations in consumption, changes in operational tempo, operational plans, adversary tactics and movement, weather, battle damage, and casualty volume, care, and evacuation. The supply chains themselves are no less complex, and are subject to changes due to factors such as weather, terrain, availability (and repair) of transport (e.g., trucks, planes, ships, pipelines), availability of roads, ports and airports, re-routing due to facility damage and military threats, labour disruptions, and the need to change or supplement suppliers of products, equipment, and transportation.

Current logistics planning capabilities rely largely on personal experience and a handful of software tools, many of which are limited in scope and capability. Solutions are being sought to aid the logistics planning and re-planning process that are able to account for the full complexity of military logistics. Solutions will be used by planners, in advance of operations, to create baseline logistics plans, and to investigate the effects of foreseeable issues on those plans. During operations, tools are needed that will support a logistician’s ability to assess and mitigate bottlenecks and to create mitigation plans for unforeseen issues as they arise.

3. Desired Outcomes

Innovative research, tools and/or technologies are sought that address, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Prediction of  local and mission-level supply needs days to weeks in advance, and creating baseline logistics plans taking into account the full complexity of the military supply chain, including potential logistics bottlenecks, and all points from the origin to the final destination, which is assumed to be an international, forward-operating base;
  • Identification of optimal logistics solutions based on available information and using different metrics (e.g. minimum time, minimum logistic resources);
  • Performing “what if” analyses to investigate the effects of potential real-world complications (e.g. limitation in available transportation, weather systems, adversary actions, etc.);
  • Production of logistics reports, and visualization of dynamic, complex logistics information.
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