I interviewed Adebayo Adeleke who discussed Military Impact On Humanitarian Supply Chain Management.
It’s good to speak with you again, Bayo, and I’m looking forward to hearing your views today on a new topic, which is military
impact on humanitarian supply chain management. Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?
Thank you again, Dustin, for this opportunity. My name is Adebayo Adeleke, and I’m a military officer by profession and my area in the military is supply chain logistics. Over the past five years, I’ve been doing a lot of research and writing on humanitarian supply chain management.
Thank you. Historically, how has the military of different nations impacted the humanitarian supply chain?
The use of military for humanitarian support can be traced back to the days of Alexander the Great. After most conquests he uses the military to kind of help sustain some of the people that were conquered. We can also, a lot of reading documents showed Napoleon Bonaparte during the Revolution, actually used a lot of these military personnel to provide humanitarian support. Now, let’s fast-forward in time. After World War Two we saw a surge in the use of most of the allied forces as they used their military supply chain, especially a specific event is the Berlin airlift; that was around 1948 to 1949, when the Russian blockade the West Berlin.
What happened was the allied forces actually provided supplies using in-depth involvement of military supply chain and forecasting demands, procurement of goods, distribution and storage of goods, and also transporting those goods to those individuals that were involved in the blockade. They used, actually, between 1948 and 1949, the allied forces provided over two million people around that area using the airdrop. So, the use of military supply chain and humanitarian supply chain—they kind of go hand in hand, as you will see—as in a flight 370 that has been missing—the use of supply of the military personnel and equipment has been used a lot. Also in the current event about the girls that have been abducted in the northern part of Nigeria by Boko Haram, and they’re using the military as well to provide search and rescue for those humanitarian efforts. The military’s supply chain and the military involvement, the military can date back in history up to now; it’s still kind of synonymous to humanitarian supply chain.
What are the advantages of the military involvement in humanitarian supply chains?
The advantages of military involvement in humanitarian supply chain is numerous. As you know, one thing first that jumps right at me is the preparedness. Military personnel are well-prepared; they are highly trained for deployment in very austere and harsh environments and often a remote location. They’re trained to support a lot of humanitarian efforts. The military can sustain itself, and they give them more men they can go to a place with no infrastructure and help out, and that’s what is actually needed in humanitarian supply chain. Also, another advantage is rapid response.
They can respond to air, land, and sea, as we see in the afterbirth of the hurricane that happened in Haiti, as the U.S. Navy actually launched a ship down to Port-au-Prince, and they used that effort to help give out military aid to people that have been devastated by an earthquake. Also, military supply chain, actually the main advantage of military supply chain is aligned with humanitarian supply chain. The reason why I’m saying this is that the military supply chain operates in a de-stabilized condition, which is pretty much what a humanitarian supply chain is. They also train to operate on that level of demand and difficult conditions.
That is why there’s an almost advantage to bringing military supply chain and humanitarian supply chain together, because what the humanitarian supply needs they kind of feed off from the military supply chain. They kind of feed off of each other. They work in an area whereby security is needed, and, of course, military supply chain will have security and whatnot. Additional things that the military brings to the table is security, support, securing the area, and also protecting the safety of the humanitarian endeavors and also protecting and relieving the supply route. As we know, most of these areas, especially in a man-made disaster, some of these areas will be infested with rogues, and having the military on ground to provide security, especially the supply route, is actually highly appreciated.
How can integrated coordination with the military improve current systems and processes in humanitarian supply chain?
The military supply chain, they have, the military as a whole, they have a huge logistical footprint, which can never underestimated, and because of this, proper coordination by the military and the civilian counterpart on the ground will help and aid the current setups and operations in humanitarian military supply chains. I’ll give a prime example. Military, when they come, they come with different platforms: mobility platform, complication platform, engineering support.
These platforms are well-integrated and will actually aid and kind of lure some of the stress that the civilian counterpart goes through. For example, the military, when they come we know that at the initial part of any disaster, they’re needed to provide immediate response, to provide security, or to stabilize a chaotic environment. I think a lot of issues from previous research and previous literature I’ve been reading about effective use of military and humanitarian supply chain is because there is not enough coordination between the military and the civilian counterpart.
I think if this part is actually set beforehand, maybe from different exercises prior to any disaster, I think that will alleviate or that will actually promote effective use of military and humanitarian support. Over the years, as we saw in Haiti, a lot of military personnel that were deployed to those areas initially were not properly used because they do not know how to properly neutralize those capabilities. It is essential that if the civilian counterpart—and also the military as a whole—to understand each other, they can better serve themselves, and not only that, for the people also in the disaster-struck area.
Thanks for sharing your views today on military impact on humanitarian supply chain management.
Thank you very much, Dustin. Thanks for your time.
About Adebayo Adeleke
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