Friday, October 10, 2014

US Military Already Having Katrina Like Logistics Issues With Ebola "Operation United Assistance"

The headline on Drudge today is MILITARY ARRIVES IN HOT ZONE the story is mostly a puff piece devoid of any useful content. The truth of the matter is that the US Military's capability to perform this sort of a mission is merely a shadow of what it once was, it's as if they learned nothing from Hurricane Katrina.

The Department of Defense is in such poor shape logistically that they had to place an emergency solicitation seeking companies in Europe to rent them Rough Terrain forklifts. Its the functional equivalent of trying rent tanks on the open market after the war has started.

This DoD photo from Liberia captures one of the few military fork trucks available working with one of the rental fork trucks.

The sad state of affairs is that DoD actually brags about its minuscule capability in one of their own press releases, trumpeting the fact that they only have one National Guard unit ( "the only unit of its kind") with such capability.

Frankly it is shocking that DoD has let itself degrade to this point. Certainly fork trucks aren't as sexy as aircraft or tanks, but a military runs on logistics and DoD used to have the brains to know that. Fork trucks are often the primary constraint in any such sort of operation, either military or commercial. Its a lack of $10K fork trucks that keeps Billions of dollars of aircraft and goods clogged up on airfields.

Of course the USA is not alone in this mess; the reason the Australians aren't responding to Western Africa is that they remember their own Fork Truck short comings when they tried to respond to West Timor in the 1990's. The only thing more militarily emasculating then barely being able to get your troops somewhere overseas, is not being able to get them back.

Of course, this sorry state of affairs doesn't just end with fork trucks. The US Military no longer has the smaller remote strip aircraft it needs to move cargo and personnel around deep woods Africa. The military gave those planes away, many to smoke jumper fire fighter units across the country.

So what does the does the Government do when it realizes it needs back the planes it gave to Smoke Jumper units? The answer is convoluted but simple, the Government mobilizes Alaskan Smoke Jumper Units to respond to West Africa via DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team). The end result is a Command and Control Cluster Mess with little to zero insightful press coverage.


Rough Terrain Container Handler required immediately for Ebola support Solicitation Number: SP3300-15-SS-7000

USAID DART: Alaska SmokeJumpers Deploying to Liberia Ebola Crisis

Aerosolizing ONE DROP of Ebola Infected Blood Can Kill 500,000 People

Fighting Ebola: why Australia can't send troops

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