A Supply Chain War Story

The Daily Signal has a post up about What the Pandemic Can Teach Us About Vulnerabilities in Our Defense Supply Chain. Everyone understands the need to get ammunition and food up to the front lines, but many people are surprised about how critical batteries are.

Numerous forms of military equipment are battery-powered, including night vision goggles, radios, and weapon optics. Complex platforms, from fifth-generation stealth fighters to submarines, all use batteries.

Batteries will play an even bigger role in the future of military technology. The Army is considering adding electric vehicles into its fleet in order to reduce its dependency on fuel. The Marine Corps is testing miniature drones that can be launched from the underbelly of a rifle. The Air Force is looking to field a body-armor cooling system in order to combat extreme heat.

Batteries have been a critical supply item for decades.

Here’s my war story. Well, it’s really a war game story.

Back in the ’70s, I participated in a war game exercise. The scenario was a Second Korean War, and I was tasked with keeping the internal communications systems operating for a deployed airborne division and between the division and its higher headquarters. Keeping the forward units supplied with batteries required the Air Force to provide airlift from the west coast equivalent to a C-130 flight every day. We were able to reduce that load on the Air Force by “buying” commercial batteries on the civilian market in Japan for use in equipment that used standard batteries.

That “worked” because we had an ally with major industrial capacity next to the combat zone. That may not always be the case. BTW, the major producer of batteries these days is … you guessed it … China.

4 thoughts on “A Supply Chain War Story

  1. Batteries are critical. I need several different kinds for optical gear alone. And they don’t have an infinite shelf-life so you have to rotate your stocks. Some of the my food stocks are approaching “best by” dates and I have to review what is still good and for how long and begin restocking some items. It’s a never-ending task.

  2. When I try to upvote your post I cannot. It does not seem to record the vote. This has happened before. I’m using Opera on Windows 10.

    • On 18 July 2016, Opera Software ASA announced it had sold its browser, privacy and performance apps, and the Opera brand to Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund I Limited Partnership (a consortium of Chinese investors led by Beijing Kunlun Tech Co and Qihoo 360) for an amount of US$600 million.

  3. Was sent to a field hospital for a couple of weeks in Turkey, supporting a big Reserve exercise. Whoever packed the equipment for the lab forgot the power cords for the microscopes. We ended up rigging a light to shine down on a shaving mirror.

    We were still better off than the Radiology tent; there was some part from the X-ray machine missing, so they were completely down. The officer made himself Morale Officer and started planning parties and sightseeing trips, and the E-4 there spent two weeks relaxing.

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