Transportation and Logistics: One Man’s Story. Jack C. Fuson, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1994, 227 pages.
Lieutenant General Jack Fuson (1920–2004) entered the U.S. Army under unusual circumstances during World War II. In Transportation and Logistics: One Man’s Story, Fuson recalls a fascinating story of how the Army adapted to rapidly changing circumstances and demands during a series of wars and police actions over his 35 years of service, which ended with his retirement in 1976. Every logistician would profit from reading this tightly written account of Fuson’s career.
Fuson began his service in May 1942 and participated in the birth and development of the Engineer Amphibious Command. The command was created out of nothing more than a vague mission statement. The Engineer Amphibious Command matured as it served in the Southwest Pacific Theater in support of General Douglas MacArthur’s “leapfrogging” campaign from Australia toward the Philippines.
At the end of World War II, Fuson went to Korea to help to reestablish the transportation infrastructure beginning at Inchon. He then returned to the United States, but after a few years was again called to Korea. At this point in his story, Fuson introduces the reader to the various tasks logisticians must complete. He describes facing these challenges with limited facilities that demand imaginative use of available materials and a host of innovations.
Fuson also presents an interesting perspective of his assignment to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Department of the Army. Under Lieutenant General William P. Yarborough in the years before the Vietnam War, the Army was realizing that reorganization was long overdue; as a consequence, Project 80 was launched. According to Fuson, among the changes that took place under Project 80 “was the loss of the Technical Services’ traditional birth-to-death responsibility for the commodities under their control.” This turned out to be a bad decision, and Fuson elaborates on how it was bad for several pages. This chapter is one of the more interesting to us today as our present Army again pursues reorganization.
The chapters titled “War in Vietnam,” focusing on the operation of the Port of Saigon; “Logistics in Washington,” where he describes becoming Chief of Transportation; and “Logistics in the Pacific,” outlining an exercise in combined logistics operations management, provide numerous insights into the professsional challenges that present-day logisticians will face while dealing with allies.
Fuson describes investigating a case at the Port of Vung Tau where the Army was blamed for its failure to move ships expeditiously. He found that the loading-unloading mechanism in use was human labor. The average Vietnamese laborer could handily move the standard 40-pound bag of rice to and from the appointed places, but an efficiency-minded purchasing agent had discovered that it was cheaper to buy rice and fertilizer in 80-pound bags. The Vietnamese were simply unable physically to handle this size burden, and the movement of goods within the port ground to a near-halt until mechanized equipment could be emplaced to handle the “oversized” containers.
After serving briefly in the U.S. Army Pacific headquarters, Fuson returned to Vietnam as the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, J–4 with the principal mission of managing the retrograde of about 2-million tons of Army materiel and supplies worth an estimated $5 billion. Transporters in particular, but logistics planners as well, can glean several pertinent lessons from this section of the book.
“Persistent Transportation Logistics Problems” is how Fuson concludes his memoir. He begins with a critique of the vital function of in-transit visibility. Noting the ability of the commercial world to track and deliver on time across the world, he includes comments on traffic management, movement control, amphibious doctrine, retrograde planning, early deployment of support personnel, distribution, and leadership.
Ethics Education in the Military. Paul Robinson, Nigel De Lee, and Don Carrick, ed., Ashgate Publishing Company, Burlington, Vermont, 2008, 208 pages.
Over 150 years ago, Karl Von Clausewitz wrote, “Moral elements are among the most important in war.” In editor Paul Robinson’s foreword to Ethics Education in the Military, he makes the case that the demands of ethics education in the Armed Forces are increasing because of greater public scrutiny and the use of the military as a force for good in humanitarian missions. The book, edited by Robinson, Nigel De Lee, and Don Carrick, examines military ethics by comparing ethics training instituted by several different militaries throughout the world. The editors use case studies written by subject-matter experts to examine the theoretical basis for the common elements and the quality of ethics education and training.
The authors describe the importance of moral elements as the basis for ethics education. In many cases, the basis of ethics training at various Western nations’ military academies are moral elements comprising of common values and virtues. Not surprisingly, most militaries share common values and virtues, such as loyalty, integrity, “mission first,” and discipline.
Colonel Yvon Dejardins of the Canadian Armed Forces explains how the Canadian Department of Defence uses three guiding principles as the basis of the Defence Ethics Program: respect the dignity of all persons, serve Canada before self, and obey lawful authority. These principles are used in conjunction with the six obligations—integrity, loyalty, courage, honesty, fairness, and responsibility—to identify essential ethical values that help individuals deal with increasingly complex issues.
Describing the development of public and organizational ethical language in the British military, Stephan Deakin names Christianity as the source of ethics at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and within the British Army. Similarly, basic values of Christianity form the basis for “The Basic Values Document” of the Norwegian Defence Force (NDF).
Although not associated with a religion, the Code of the Bushido, with its “nine typical virtues,” forms the basis for military ethics training in the Self Defense Forces of Japan. When asked about how one could impart ethics education without a religious upbringing, Dr. Inazo Nitobe, former Under-Secretary General of the League of Nations, responded, “not until I began to analyze the different elements that formed my notions of right and wrong, did I find that it was Bushido that breathed them into my nostrils.”
Many of these experts identify the need to train not only career officers but also career soldiers. Soldiers and officers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Norway, and others nations receive introductory ethics education early in their careers. The NDF uses “dilemma intervention” to activate soldiers’ own values when they confronted by various dilemmas. According to Tor Arne Berntsen and Raag Rolfsen, who are NDF ethics training experts, all conscripts and lower-level officers go through this. The Royal Australian Air Force Officer Training School includes lessons on definitions of values, morals, and ethics as well as the process of ethical decisionmaking. The Australian Army’s Recruit Training Battalion begins ethics training by introducing recruits to critical thinking about themselves, the military, and social environments. The quality of these programs is the basis for the quality of soldiers’ judgments.
In the most compelling and perhaps controversial chapter of Ethics Education in the Military, Jeffery Wilson looks at the ethics curriculum of the U.S. Army. He describes how the Army has improved ethics training since the advent of the all-volunteer force. The codification of the seven Army Values, the Code of Conduct, and the West Point Honor Code all contributed to the Army’s ethical renaissance. (The reader may wonder why West Point needed an honor code when Wilson later describes the institution’s ethical superiority.)
Ethics Education in the Military should interest those teaching in military schools, especially those with students from other countries. Military leaders of all grades should also find this book interesting as the military faces greater scrutiny and is expected to uphold a set of values accepted by both military personnel and the community they serve.