Sourcing decisions for military logistics in Peace Support Operations : A case study of the Swedish armed forces

Abstract: What role has sourcing for the logistical outcome when Swedish Armed Forces (FM) plan for and conduct Peace Support Operations (PSOs)? What are the logistic needs to support the operating units? Can logistics in itself contribute to the overall goals with the PSOs? It depends of course on how the logistics are organised and what is required in order to support the military operations. The research on military logistics in general is limited and within the conduct of small nations forces almost non-existent. The role of sourcing depends on the military supply chain and FM decisions on make or buy, choice of market, number of suppliers and relations with the supplier. Therefore this thesis addresses how the sourcing decisions impact the military logistics in FM PSOs and the achievement of short-term and/or long-term objectives. The short term objectives represent the operational needs and the long term objectives represent the overall goals for PSOs. In order to understand the military logistics in PSOs a thorough review of the literature in the field was conducted. A second review was done with the focus on the four sourcing decisions. FM PSOs during the period 2002-2010 were studied. The case focused on  two on-going operations, in Liberia and in the Bay of Aden, and complementary information was collected from a third operation, in Afghanistan. Also the central processes in the headquarters and the connections upstream to the Swedish government and the international relations were studied. The case was built up by interviews, field visits and secondary data. For military logistics in PSOs, three areas on different levels, with in total twelve constructs of importance were developed. Of special importance is the logistic tier structure. The sourcing was one of four logistic key decisions. The sourcing decisions turned out to change between different logistic phases. One of the findings was that the decisions proved to be of importance for the logistic outcome. The make or buy decision enabled responsiveness in the logistics system in a hostile environment. Proximity between customer and supplier showed to be important for all phases in an on-going Peace support operation. Due to the security situation in PSOs, dual sourcing showed to be important in order to create redundancy in the supply chain. The supplier relations changed from arm’s length to partnership when an operation was initiated, which improved the responsiveness. The Swedish Public Procurement Act placed limitations on the procuring organisations to utilise the possibilities to be efficient and effective.