Lecture explores business acumen in military logistics

With a $145 billion annual budget, Department of Defense logistics is big business, and to ensure all the of the US Armed Forces’ men, women, and materials get where they need to go, a little management know-how goes a long way. That was the theme of a March lecture entitled “Supply Chain Management and Logistics in the Military.”

The presentation featured J4 Joint Logistics staff officers US Army Colonel Tom Rivard and US Navy Captain Pam Theorgood, who came to Goizueta from the Pentagon for the event.

“The Department of Defense runs one of the biggest logistics operations in the world,” said Nikolay Osadchiy, assistant professor of information systems & operations management. The lecture was for Osadchiy’s class, Supply Chain Management (BUS 553G), and he organized the event with the assistance of retired Army Lieutenant General Ken Keen, associate dean of leadership development.

“We wanted to give the class an inside perspective on what it takes for military logistics to succeed and how the approaches are similar or different compared with for-profit firms,” Osadchiy said.

Rivard and Theorgood’s lecture covered logistical challenges ranging from combating Ebola in West Africa to battling ISIS in the Middle East. “We have to decide between efficiency and effectiveness,” Rivard said. “For instance, if we have to prosecute a war, but we can only do it for seven days based on the amount of munitions we have, we have to figure out what to stockpile. What if we bought 50,000 of something that’s the best thing going, and the next year technology changes, making those weapons obsolete? We’ll have spent billions of dollars on something we’ll never use.”

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