NETWORKED LOGISTICS: TURNING THE IRON MOUNTAIN INTO AN IRON NETWORK
Lynch, Gregory E.
Sanchez, Susan M.
Raffetto, Mark A.
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The current Marine Corps logistics structure distributes resources from a central point commonly known as the “Iron Mountain” to combat units throughout the battlespace. The Iron Mountain presents a substantial target for adversaries with precision-guided weapons or large-scale attack capabilities. This study explores the effects of replacing the Iron Mountain with a distributed network of mobile logistics support nodes. This “Iron Network” creates a smaller unpredictable target that is harder to locate while still providing logistics support to combat units. We create a simulation model to explore the factors affecting the resupply capabilities of an Iron Network and Iron Mountain in terms of time for service, unfulfilled requests, and resource requirements. The major findings of the modeling and simulation analysis indicate that this Iron Network structure is possible, but it requires some specific enablers. Asset and supply level visibility across the network are critical for success, as is responsive global logistical support. The best response times occur when vehicle utilization remains below 40%. Given enough vehicles and an accurate picture of the network’s resources, the Iron Network proves to be 79% faster than the Iron Mountain, while using 22% less vehicles and associated fuel and leaving 94% fewer requests unfulfilled.
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