Sharing information with other employers is commonplace. “In the military relations community, people are so open because the end game is to take care of transitioning military and veterans, and military spouses, and help them,” Airola explains. “They’ve sacriced so much. Can we help them get into careers? “We’d love to hire them all,” he adds. “We can’t possibly, but they all deserve great jobs.” n
J.B. Hunt has made retaining veterans recruits a top priority. “Companies that hire veterans need to have a solid training program and a career path for the vets,” Airola notes. For companies like J.B. Hunt, looking out for vets trumps the tooth-and- nail ght to recruit truck drivers and logistics professionals seen elsewhere in the industry. Proponents of veteran advancement at companies are surprisingly collaborative.
training, but also from extraordinary opportunities to develop soft skills such as teamwork, resourcefulness, and initiative—traits that employers consistently rank as among the most desirable. Hiring veterans is not just the right thing to do—it is a smart business decision,” says Rodriguez. Companies with successful veteran programs know that simply bringing vets onboard for altruistic reasons isn’t enough.
WELCOME TO THE FRONT LINE OF LOGISTICS INNOVATION
beamed from a satellite. The Air Force is looking into this unconventional delivery system, says a 2020 article in CleanTechnica . Then there is the nuclear option. Dunlap points out that portable nuclear reactors are already a thing on aircraft carriers and subs. Per a press release in March 2020, the Department of Defense is looking into land-based models. The military is also embracing a philosophy of “why move what you can print?” Parts for weapons, equipment, machinery, and food are fair game. Yes, food. According to Digital Engineering 247 , 3D food printers essentially bring a portable butcher shop, dairy, vegetable farm, bakery, and kitchen to anywhere troops go. The U.S. military has company on the innovation front. For years, Europeans have been focused on applying additive manufacturing, like 3D and 4D printing, to the provision and delivery of spare parts from decentralized locations. That includes attaching 3D units to combat units, according to a post by the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). You could say that networking information nodes in a system together has been a major goal of armed forces in Europe and around the globe for centuries. AI, big data, blockchain, and deep learning may finally succeed where others have failed, EUISS says. In addition to predicting repairs and inventory needs, EUISS says AI systems could divine how logistics information is disseminated to increase inter- unit cooperation and enhance interoperability among service branches and allies’ military organizations. Leave it to the military to create Pax Logistica.
Necessity is the mother of all invention. That’s why the military excels at supply chain and logistics innovation. Here are a few examples. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has an answer when other transportation options are blocked. High-speed tactical tunnel creation. DARPA’s Underminer program “demonstrated the feasibility of rapidly constructing tactical tunnel networks that enable secure, responsive resupply in denied environments,” reveals a March 2022 post on Darpa.mil. A recent post by Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF (Ret.) on Duke University’s Lawfire Blog , details some ways the American military is seeking to streamline the logistics of getting food, fuel, and water to troops. The problem with water logistics is that water is heavy and hard to transport. The military is looking at ways to tap potable water from sewage using a “super-wicking anti-gravity aluminum panel that uses solar power to purify water,” according to Interesting Engineering . DARPA also announced an initiative in 2020 to find a way to pull water from the desert air. Getting fuel to troops in a conflict, and just relying on a steady and ready source, is risky business. The Army reported in June 2020 that it had developed an advanced scientific model for creating bio- derived fuels in austere locations. With this solution the Army could convert wood logs and other biomass into fuel for vehicles and equipment. Troops getting sustainable energy from solar panels sounds conventional, except for when it’s
150 Inbound Logistics • July 2022
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