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Using digital supply networks to combat systems confrontation warfare

Interoperable physical-digital supply networks are critical to ensure that modern combat logistics can endure attacks in all operational domains and across allies, industry and government agencies to rapidly design, produce and deploy combat resources.

A Future of Warfighting publication by Deloitte US

The future of warfare is likely to see systems-confrontation operations which use physical, digital and electronic warfare means to interfere with the physical and digital systems that a modern logistical process relies on. Through systems confrontation strategies a modern armed forces’ logistical processes can be stalled before they even start. To complement digital attacks, systems confrontation warfare also leverages physical attacks.

Interoperable physical-digital supply networks aid in sustaining combat logistics against a peer waging system confrontation warfare. Unlike linear supply chains, digital supply networks offer many redundant ways to connect demand with supply and mobility at the tactical edge or production capacity in the industrial base. To meet the needs of peer warfare, armed forces need to create digital supply networks not just within their armed services, but also with their allies, partners and industry.

Digital supply networks required by armed forces forces must serve two very different purposes: it must co-ordinate capabilities at the tactical edge and co-ordinate capacity in the industrial base. In this paper, we explore the necessary approach for systems combat logistics to accomplish this and the requisite changes that modern armed forces need to make.

About the Future of Warfighting

The Deloitte Center for Government Insights is undertaking a yearlong research project focussed on helping defence organisations prepare for the next 15 years of defence challenges. While defence challenges are ever shifting, our research has identified interoperability—within armed forces, within government, between nations and with industry—as being key to meeting uncertain threats.

Through more than 60 experts representing 12 countries across North America, Europe and Asia, this research will produce more than a dozen insights articles offering ways of improving interoperability across key armed forces areas. Research will detail how specific defense organisations can improve interoperability across defence challenges based on country-level expertise. The four leading defence challenges assessed from strategy documents of the 12 countries include near-peer warfare, grey zone threats particularly from technology, limited scale warfare and defending the rules-based international order. The goal is to not only promote discussion at the international and intra-national levels, but demonstrate, in part, how greater interoperability can occur.

Visit to access the Future of Warfighting insights collection and the interactive Interoperability index.

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