BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

The impact of logistics and supply chain framework on national security

I have written about this in bits and pieces but there is a need to highlight areas where supply chain and logistics affect national security and vice versa. Nigeria’s fight against banditry and extremism bares solely on certain tactics and logistics. General Paton of the US during World War 2 said, and I quote, “Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.”

If we look at the war-fighting functions of the military around the world. We’d notice intelligence, fires, and manoeuvres, but one of them is under sustainment and that is logistics and its framework.

Please follow me as I explain how all these are related. The ability of security agencies in Nigeria to carry out their day-to-day activities is based on their logistical footprint. How they sustain themselves is imperative to their survival. Many security agencies are always conscious about exposing their tactics but nonchalant about exposing their logistics and transportation framework. Meanwhile, both are of equal importance.

My position may be biased, but from experience, most people lose battles, not because of tactical issues but because they are logically incapable

Tactics and logistics should be elevated to the same level because one runs the other. You cannot be tactically sound, without logistical support, your tactical operation depends on your logistical support.

Why is this important? If you look at the past banditry and the terrorist attacks on different communities in Nigeria, you’d realise that these terrorists lack tactical discipline, but they are logistically sound.

Read also: How e-commerce platforms are bridging logistics challenges for Nigeria’s retailers

They also do a lot of things and don’t leave traces. They spend a lot of time surveying patterns of life and gather relevant intelligence. They know when there’s a change of guards and when most people are gone. They know the best time to strike and the logistical route to use. If security agencies can break their supply chain analytical framework, I believe that the fight against banditry and extremism will be broken in Nigeria.

This is at the centre of our discussion because Nigeria’s national security framework has a weak supply chain framework. If the supply chain is weak, there’s no way you can support any tactical operation, and if you cannot support tactical operations, people will suffer and die.

I know the Nigerian government has spent a ton of money trying to fight terrorism, but there must also be a consistent supply network for your military in fighting against banditry. The moment your supply network or train is broken or exposed, everything goes south.

Most of the sporadic success the Nigerian army has experienced was because they moved undetected. The moment the logistical train is exposed, there’s a problem. If they know where you produce your cannons or bring your ammunition from, if they know where you do your repairs, it’s troubling.

You must screen people working in your supply chain framework. Do they tell everything they see to the outside world? If you’re fighting and your location and ammunition type are exposed, the enemy has gained an advantage over you. Apart from the exposure to the logistical and supply chain framework, the Nigerian government has to make sure that their depots, company support lines, and supply chains that support the fields are robust and free-flowing.

The whole logistical framework behind the folks fighting has to be wire tight. I’m not saying the Nigerian government and military are not doing their best to ensure this, but it isn’t where it needs to be.

As we say globally, the enemy has advanced, and fighting is more complex now. It’s important to always think a few steps ahead.

For us to strengthen our national security, we must continue to monitor the logistical framework that supports the military and all other security agencies. We must always ask- is it exposed, and is it robust enough? Let’s assume those are protected. What about our logistical footprint across Nigeria? Who is supporting what? Is there a free flow of goods and services?

From my research, the Nigerian military has good intent but poor execution with a free flow of goods and services to support the fighters. My position may be biased, but from experience, most people lose battles, not because of tactical issues but because they are logically incapable.

With new knowledge, more people will see that the supply chain and logistical framework are more vital to the fight and as crucial as the tactical counterparts. As we continue to look at tactics, let us also look at logistics in the same vein.

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