Con-ops & Operations

Militaries execute their strategies through concepts of operations. The con-ops of a force structure embody the entire chain from platforms, to sustainment, to training, to the ability to operate in a joint or coalition environment. How the force structure operates is a key determinant of the success or failure on the battlefield or in the battlespace. Con-ops provide a sense of how things work together to create synergy and capabilities. Logistics, sustainment, training, and ability to connect forces effectively across the battlespace are key elements shaping the concepts of operations of forces.

In this section of the website, we will provide insights into the evolving concepts of operations of Western military forces and the role of logistics and sustainment within those concepts of operations. We are looking beyond the platforms to how they work together to shape strategic or tactical capabilities.

Notably, the impact of systems on con-ops is a much-neglected subject. The recent “debate” about the F-22 occurred with little consideration of its impact on the operation of US and allied forces. The V-22 “debate” has similarly proceeded with little consideration of the impact of tilt-rotor technology on the con-ops of forces.

Even more significant from a logistics and sustainment point of view, the bias against new systems in evaluating their roles is significant as well. An F-22 replaces three F-15s; yet one of the arguments used against the F-22 was that its logs and sutainment cost was higher than an F-15. But why not evaluate the F-22 against the sutainment costs of three F-15s? Similarly, the Osprey replaces three CH-46s and two forward operating bases. But in the “debate” about Osprey, the cost equivalence of operating a single Osprey versus the cost of operating multiple CH-46s and providing for two operational bases was not even considered.

This is why without discussing platforms, their contribution to con-ops and the embedded logistics and sustainment element, it is difficult to have a fair debate about the contribution of new systems. This section of the website contributes in part to such a debate.

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"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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