Logistics Matters … a Lot

Knowledge Hub for Logistics in Ireland

Logistics matters … a lot.  

Having an efficient, effective and flexible logistics operation is often the difference between success or failure; sometimes between life or death.

Look at what these famous writers and historical figures had to say about the importance of logistics.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower

You will not find it difficult to prove that battles, campaigns, and even wars have been won or lost primarily because of logistics.

Tom Peters – Rule #3: Leadership Is Confusing As Hell, Fast Company, March 2001

Leaders win through logistics. Vision, sure. Strategy, yes. But when you go to war, you need to have both toilet paper and bullets at the right place at the right time. In other words, you must win through superior logistics.

Napoleon Bonaparte

An army marches on its stomach.

General Antoine Henri Jomini, Precis de l’Art de la Guerre (The Art of War), 1838

Logistics comprises the means and arrangements which work out the plans of strategy and tactics. Strategy decides where to act; logistics brings the troops to this point.

Benjamin Franklin

A little neglect may breed mischief: for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.

Henry E. Eccles, USN, Ret, Logistics in the National Defense, 1959

Behind every great leader there was an even greater logistician.                                                                                                    

James A. Huston, The Sinews of War: Army Logistics 1775-1953, 1966

Logistics … in the broadest sense, the three big M’s of warfare – material, movement, and maintenance. If international politics is ‘the art of the possible,’ and war is its instrument, logistics is the art of defining and extending the possible. It provides the substance that physically permits an army to live and move and have its being.

Captain A.T. Mahan, Armaments and Arbitration, 1912

Logistics … as vital to military success as daily food is to daily work.                                                                                                      

A.C. P. Wavell, Speaking Generally, (1946)

The more I see of war, the more I realize how it all depends on administration and transportation…  It takes little skill or imagination to see where you would like your army to be and when; it takes much knowledge and hard work to know where you can place our forces and whether you can maintain them there. A real knowledge of supply and movement factors must be the basis of every leader’s plan; only then can he know how and when to take risks with those factors, and battles are won only by taking risks.


Logistics must be simple – everyone thinks they’re an expert.                                                                                                            

Attributed to Alexander the Great

My logisticians are a humorless lot … they know if my campaign fails, they are the first ones I will slay.

Marine Corps Gazette (July 1987)

As we select our forces and plan our operations, … (w)e must understand how logistics can impact on our concepts of operation…  Commanders must base all their concepts of operations on what they know they can do logistically.


Tom Clancy, Red Storm Rising (also attributed to Napoleon)

The tactics … no, amateurs discuss tactics, ... Professional soldiers study logistics.

Sun Tzu - The Art of War

The line between disorder and order lies in logistics.