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Logistics in Peacetime is Hard Enough; Now Add Water, Distance, and Being Shot At: USFJ DCOM

23-005 | March 21, 2023

Tokyo —

Brigadier General James B. Wellons, deputy commander, U.S. Forces Japan, participated on a panel at the Defense Security Equipment International conference in Tokyo, Japan, Mar. 17, 2023.

The panel, comprised of military officers from each service of Japan’s Self Defense Forces as well as senior officers from the British Army and Royal Australian Air Force, discussed the important role of logistics planning to national security strategy.

The panel discussion focused primarily on the posture of military and civilian relations as it relates to military logistics for combat support and supply chains.

Wellons cited historical examples during which the military and civilian private sector have combined capabilities to quickly and efficiently supply the war fighter.

“Logistics mergers allow for extraordinary outcomes, and it is imperative that we take an enterprise approach,” said Wellons.

The participants discussed concrete examples of civilian-military logistic partnerships around the world and offered thoughts of future planning opportunities in order to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.

They also highlighted the challenge presented by the “tyranny of distance” in the Indo-Pacific theater. In other words, the difficulty of coordinating and operating over vast distances.

Wellons noted that, in order to solve this challenge, military planners would need to take an “innovative, whole-of-government approach to logistics.”

Panelists took heed of logistics lessons learned from history and lessons currently being learned through global events and conflicts presently underway. Nations around the world, including Japan, have taken notice, and are applying a renewed focus on logistical planning.

“This is the most interesting and important time to be serving in Japan,” Wellons concluded.