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The LEW: It Keeps Getting Better

Since 1998, logisticians have been using the Logistics Estimation Workbook (LEW) as an important part of their mission analysis and logistics planning. The LEW was developed by an instructor in the Army Logistics Management College’s Support Operations Course at Fort Lee, Virginia, as a logistics requirements forecasting tool. Based on a Microsoft Excel application, the LEW is designed to support rapid logistics planning, primarily at the brigade level and below.

The LEW uses planning factors from the Army Command and General Staff College’s Combat Service Support Battle Book Student Text 101–6 and the Army’s Operations Logistics (OPLOG) Planner, Version 2.20. Since its inception, the LEW has been updated many times. The updates often were spurred by the input of users. Their suggestions for improvements to the application have led, over time, to a significantly improved product.

The latest update to the LEW, published in February, is version 9.1, which follows version 9.0 by only a few months. LEW 9.1 maintains all of the functionality of previous versions and adds useful new features. The new version adds many more Army unit types to the system and makes them available for selection. Users are more likely than before to find a unit that fits the characteristics of their own units in the “OPTEMPO” (operating tempo) drop-down menu. This means that few or no adjustments will have to be made to personnel and equipment numbers.

In earlier versions of the LEW, most calculations were based on the assumption that the periods of time designated on the first user input page were 24-hour days. However, time periods, or phases, are actually driven by the type of mission, such as attack, defense, or uncommitted. LEW 9.1 allows the user to designate the length of each period in hours. The LEW then automatically adjusts all calculations of personnel losses, medical evacuation, general supply, ammunition, equipment maintenance, and evacuation requirements to the periods of time entered by the user. Operators still can use the LEW in the traditional manner by entering “24” for each period of time. This makes each mission a whole day, which is how previous versions of LEW treated all missions.

Another significant change to the LEW occurs on the “Personnel Losses” page. Previously, users of this portion of the LEW clicked on a drop-down menu to select one period at a time to determine medical evacuation requirements and shortfalls. LEW 9.1 allows users to do this for all time periods at once and see the results on one page. The new Personnel Losses page requires more user input, but the user only needs to identify time periods requiring medical evacuation information and complete the corresponding portions of the page. For instance, a user does not have to fill out a column that corresponds to a period with an uncommitted mission.

LEW 9.1 also allows users to choose where air ambulances pick up patients. Previous versions assumed that all air ambulances would fly to the forward support medical company to pick up patients. With LEW 9.1, users can choose to have air ambulances pick up patients at ambulance exchange points.

Improvements will continue to be incorporated into the LEW as they are developed. For example, modular force units will be preloaded into the Excel applications in future versions of the LEW.

The LEW is accessible through Army Knowledge Online (AKO) by clicking on the “files” icon at the top of the AKO page and searching for “LEW 9.1.” New users must click on the “Subscribe Now” button before they can access the “Team LEW” folder containing LEW 9.1 and the newly updated User’s Guide.

Questions about the LEW should be directed to david.sales@us.army.mil.

Captain Carl E. Ballinger is a student in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a graduate of the Ordnance Officer Basic Course, the Movement Control Planner Course, and the Combined Logistics Captains Career Course.