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Reaching Further with Logistics

In military science, maintaining one's supply lines while disrupting those of the enemy is a crucial—some would say the most crucial—element of military strategy, since an armed force without resources and transportation is defenseless. The historical leaders Hannibal, Alexander the Great, and the Duke of Wellington are considered to have been logistical geniuses: Alexander's expedition, the longest military campaign ever undertaken, benefited considerably from his meticulous attention to the provisioning of his army, Hannibal is credited to have "taught logistics" to the Romans during the Punic Wars and the success of the Anglo-Portuguese army in the Peninsula War was the due to the effectiveness of Wellington's supply system, despite the numerical disadvantage. The defeat of the British in the American War of Independence and the defeat of the Axis in the African theater of World War II are attributed by some scholars to logistical failures.

Supply chain management in military logistics often deals with a number of variables in predicting cost, deterioration, consumption, and future demand. The United States Armed Forces' categorical supply classification was developed in such a way that categories of supply with similar consumption variables are grouped together for planning purposes. For instance, peacetime consumption of ammunition and fuel will be considerably lower than wartime consumption of these items, whereas other classes of supply such as subsistence and clothing have a relatively consistent consumption rate regardless of war or peace.