There can be no doubt that Supply chain analytics has changed the commercial sphere the world over. The U.S. has not been left out of what some have termed the “craze for Supply Chain Analytics and Contract analysis”. To the few unassuming readers of this piece, any reference to supply analytics is an attempt to describe the processes that organizations utilize to acquire knowledge and extract information from substantial amounts of data connected with the purchase, processing, and distribution of goods. Contract analysis on the other hand refers the all the processes utilized by an organization to ensure that data is identified and extracted to aid them in better managing their exposure to risks.
This ad-hoc definition poses a problem as its wordings seem to relegate Supply Chain Analytics and Contract Analysis squarely to the realm of commerce. If the U.S. government continues to thread on this erroneous path, it would surely leave them far behind our adversaries who will in time as the 2021 National Threat Assessment of the U.S Intelligence Community forecasts, conduct “espionage, sabotage, and potentially proposition for warfighting”.
The threat of cyberattacks from adversary States continues to be on the rise as enemy States continue to beef up their cybersphere and operations to allow for its utilization by their militaries as a tool of national power. These adversary States, as the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has reported, have made heavy investment systems warfare so that they can have the ability to disturb and even destroy the military operational systems of the United States. In all that is said and done, the point is that on this trajectory, Cyberattack may just be on the horizon and that is why now is the time for the United States military and defense organization to make substantial investments into improving supply chains not just for the safety of its citizenry but also of its allies as well.
ADVANCEMENTS IN LOGISTICS
In the early days of the supply chain, its capabilities were pretty basic or straightforward. Now, with the advent of Digital Supply Networks (DSNs) which utilizes artificial intelligence to connect physical and digital networks that harmonize planning, implementation, and enabling all at the same time, things are more complex.
DSNs can be used to advance the work begun by the usage of supply chains in the commercial sphere. For instance, content intelligence can be used to improve the availability and integrity of data. As to its connotation for the military and defense organizations, the sky seems to be the limit for the application of DSNs. But for now, its utilization could improve the military in these key 7 ways:
Agility and resiliency:
DSNs will improve the agility and resiliency of military and defense organizations by ensuring quick responses to disturbance and restoring balance to planning, implementation, and enabling.
There can be no successful military of defense operation with communication. DSNs ensure effective collaboration between the United States, its allied nations, and supply chain partners by facilitating effective synchronization.
DSNs ensure a continuous stream of information in a manner that facilitates the use of artificial intelligence to add value and the effective collation of data.
Artificial intelligence is renowned for its ability to read data in such a way that enables it to make predictions. DSNs would empower the defense and military organizations with the ability to predict.
One of the most important concerns of the military and defense organization is the safety and security of data or information garnered. DSNs meet this concern by ensuring that breaches do not result in data exposure and that only relevant stakeholders with appropriate clearance have access to information.
Ease of Use
DSNs are not complex mechanisms, and they can be easily operated efficiently. This saves the military and defense organization time and the pecuniary obligations of having to extensively train staff.
Ease of Visibility:
Supply chain analytics enable relevant stakeholders from anywhere in the world the ability to access information.
While some detractors of Supply chain analytics have founded their pessimism on the difficulties of upgrading government systems, this shouldn’t deter the U.S. from taking steps to update its systems. This is because detractors fail to avert their minds to the scalable nature of DSNs. Its scalability means that it does not all have to be done at once as the relevant stakeholder have the discretion to determine what components to execute and which to leave for later. Its scalability also shuts up those who question the impact of such an upgrade on the country’s budget.
However, it has to be said that the implementation of supply chain analytics is the easy part, ensuring its success through its adoption in a manner that will result in the significant progress we all want to see is the hard part. The latter is not impossible in the following approaches are utilized:
Technology is never stagnant or static. It continues to evolve, thus, the need for the United States government to continue to realize the need for and look for areas of improvement by accepting the continuous evolution of supply chain analytics to enable it to achieve all it promises to.
While State secrets should be kept secret, a level of transparency with professionals will go a long way into ensuring that when there are challenges, these professionals understand their root cause and can work together devoid of organizational red-tapes and bottlenecks.
Reeducate operation professionals:
Professionals must be reeducated to enable them to gain the needed skill sets to effectively navigate the new digital sphere.
It is also pertinent that systems, sensors, and networks are protected from cyberattacks. One way to do this is by only providing information on a “need-to-know” basis and only to those with security clearance.
It is remarkable that the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has taken commendable steps towards securing supply chains not just to sure-up security but to ensure the country’s economic prosperity. His endeavors in this regard are evidenced by the Executive Order on America’s Supply Chain made on the 24th day of February 2021. Amongst other things, the Order directs the heads of different agencies to submit reports on the risks associated with the supply chain. It is a step in the right direction and a necessary one at that if the U.S. is to forestall the imminence of cyber warfare.