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An army logistician is a military officer with expertise in the mission planning, transportation, or maintenance of army troops. Calculating supply needs and methods, determining what facilities are needed and how to build them, and ensuring that necessary equipment is properly distributed to troops are some of the main concerns of an army logistician. Each national military tends to group its logistics officers differently, in order to better distribute trained officers over the wide range of responsibilities common to logistics.
In order to become an army logistician, a person must undergo intensive training. The logistics branches of militaries tend to have extensive career opportunities for both soldier and officers. Soldiers may be trained in a variety of trades needed to carry out logistics missions; in the British Army, for instance, soldiers can train to be movement controllers, drivers, dispatchers, couriers, or even chefs.
Officer training teaches soldiers to become troop commanders, able to design and manage logistics operations from either the base or the field. As with troop training, officers may choose to specialize in a variety of areas, such as food supply or port maintenance. Officers can sometimes specialize in multiple disciplines, since many areas in logistics planning overlap one another.
In most armies, logisticians are needed to ensure that military operations, including training, peacekeeping, and wartime missions, run smoothly. While it is necessary to have a plan for taking an enemy outpost, it is also equally necessary to understand how much food the troops will need to carry out the operation, what medical facilities are necessary, and how to protect supply lines to ensure that necessary equipment and supplies reaches the troops. These are some of the major concerns that make up the job of an army logistician.
An army logistician may work in many different capacities within the army. Some logisticians are deployed with troops to oversee the implementation of logistics operations, such as creating supply trains, overseeing the building of facilities, and managing of supplies in the field. Others may work from bases as strategic planners, helping to develop the operations that will be used in the field. An army logistician may also serve as a teacher, training new logistics recruits in their chosen disciplines.
Individual armies may divide the responsibilities of logistics into slightly different categories. In the United States army, logistics is divided into four main branches, known as Quartermaster, Ordinance, Transportation, and a multi-discipline branch simply called Logistics. In the Australian army, an army logistician may belong to one of six branches, including Catering, Engineering, Medical, or Transport.