What do a fresh look at what “logistics” means, the ongoing electronics revolution, new manufacturing techniques, and the social norms and movements arising from these trends, have in common? Within the US Army, the answer is the Rapid Equipping Force’s new Expeditionary Lab (“Ex Lab”), which incorporates and fosters those trends on the front lines of combat.
The US Army’s Retrograde, Reset, Redeployment, Redistribution, and Disposal (R4D or “Afghan retrograde”) is a huge effort, moving an estimated $17 billion of good out of country at a cost of around $6 billion. Some of its successes, and failings, offer lessons that apply much further down the chain of service, and in the commercial world.
The Congressional Budget Office’s report [PDF] on the the Navy’s 2014-43 shipbuilding plan [PDF] notes that it is slightly less money-hungry than the previous year’s 30-year plan, but the plan remains about “one-third higher than the funding amounts that the Navy has received in recent decades.” The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces will hear its author Eric J. Labs at its hearing today (2pm ET). Ronald O’Rourke, the lead naval analyst at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), will be there too, here’s his latest meta report [PDF] on the plan. (All these documents and their predecessors are in our Google Drive repository.)