Australia’s future wars may not run to our timetable. Our recent wars of choice have allowed participation as and when we wished. If some future conflict is short notice however, the Australian Defence Force may lack the logistic backup to be more than a one-shot force, operationally viable for only a short period.

This simply reflects that in preparing for imminent conflict, during times of crisis and then undertaking combat, ADF equipment is used more intensively. Higher usage rates means more spares are suddenly needed but getting these is inherently hard. Suppliers now use just-in-time not just-in-case practices.

A product can move seamlessly through the ordering, production and delivery cycle with no human intervention or involvement and production processes can be sharply accelerated.

There are no large warehouses pre-stocked with all the expensive essentials that might be needed just waiting. This would be very expensive especially as modern military equipment is regularly upgraded and stockholdings may become valueless. Essentials are now only made to order and that takes time.

Please click here to read the full ‘Mobilising Defence in the “fourth industrial revolution”‘ published in The Lowy Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.