Fighting the logistics through

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Logistics is the weak link in many peace missions and expeditionary operations.
Lieutenant Colonels Ian Mills and Rich Hills of the British Peace Support Team to South Africa, based at the National War College told defenceWeb‘s Peacekeeping Africa 2009 conference that today “everyone must be prepared to ‘fight the logistics through’.”
The “linear” environment of the conventional warfare era with defined front lines and rear areas is history for now and peacekeepers are operating in a “360 degree” environment.
The presence of insurgents, rebels and armed criminals mean the threat is everywhere; anywhere can be in the front line.
Mills and Hills add this requires logistics troops to brush up on their infantry skills. It also requires them to wear personal protective equipment in the form of “flak jackets” and ballistic helmets.
The threat level, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, has also required the arming and armouring of logistic vehicles.
The British colonels say the heavy blast-proof cab armour fitted to trucks today in those theatres are a far cry from the coat of white paint applied to standard soft-skinned vehicles in the Balkans in the 1990s.       
Trucks now generally also carry bar armour to defeat rocket-propelled grenades, electronic countermeasures to jam roadside bombs, wire cutters to break snares and machine guns as well as grenade launchers to fight off attackers.   
This as well as night driving aids such as night vision goggles, infrared (IR) headlights and  IR position lights and run-flat tyres has cost British taxpayers £1 billion since 2003.
In some areas the threat is so high that land convoys are planned as combat operations. “The tribesmen have been aptly described as the best umpires in the world, because they seldom allow a tactical error to go unpunished,” the officers say.
“Force protection is not an optional extra.”