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A series of annual Essay Competitions and Award Dinners sponsored by Fujitsu and supported by the Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration, Cranfield University and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT).

The competition, which was open to all Armed Forces personnel, invited entrants to write an essay, of up to 3,500, words on the topic:

Total Support Force: a key enabler of operational capability?

With 6,000 deployed contractors supporting Operation HERRICK, Contractor Support to Operations could be seen to be both well established and successful. However, future reductions in regular military manpower across the support space, combined with the need to increase efficiency in the delivery of support, require the MOD to find new solutions.

Is the concept of a Total Support Force – combining regulars, reserves, civil servants and contractors into force elements working together in the firm base and deploying together on operations – the answer? What future role could and should industry play in the delivery of Defence support, can technology lead us to new ways of working and how will the operational commander be assured of that support?

All essays were judged by independent markers – Air Commodore Andy Gell (retired) former Head of Defence Logistics Policy; Group Captain Chris Markey (retired), Royal Air Force; Dr David Moore, Cranfield University and Group Captain Robin Smith, Air Command. Three winners were agreed and two others were highly commended in recognition of their insightful response to the question posed.

Squadron Leader Stuart Gregory – First Place
Major Richard Sanders – Second Place
Squadron Leader Jamie Cameron – Third Place

Highly Commended:
Lieutenant Helen Hobson (RN)
Staff Sergeant Sarah Geddes


Chris Markey FCMI FCILT
Chairman, Defence Supply Chain Forum, CILT(UK)
Dr David M Moore
Director, Centre for Defence Acquisition, Cranfield University

The focus for this collection of essays is firmly on the near future for Defence logistics. Much thought is being applied in this area by Defence logistic strategists in the Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support organisation, and single Service Command Headquarters. Senior officers and civil servants, academics and leaders of defence industry bodies are trying to put flesh on the conceptual bones of new force structures that will be shaped, in part, by eye-watering resource constraints. These essays are important because they represent a selection of the thoughts and perceptions from a wide group of logisticians who are not necessarily informed or, more relevantly, constrained by the higher mechanisms of Defence strategy and policy processes. Whilst the authors may become the Defence strategists of tomorrow, here they provide refreshingly practical but well researched views from the practitioners’ viewpoint.
The topic of the essays, chosen by the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Logistic Operations)’s staffs, addresses a new concept where uniformed regular and reserve Service personnel, civil servants and contractors are combined into force elements working together in their firm ‘home’ bases and deploying together on operations. Taken individually, none of the elements of this construct are new. All four personnel groups have operated together at home and on expeditionary operations for many years. Possibly the greatest innovation is grouping all of the actors together into ‘force elements’ with all of the implications for contractual, command and personal relationships that this brings. It is therefore worth looking further at how the relationships between Defence and industrial players has evolved and been managed in the past, setting the scene for this ‘new’ concept – Total Support Force.
The following essays raise m

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