Naval War College Review


Arthur M. Smith


Without question, the commitment of materiel and personnel to saving life and limb in close support of combat troops constitutes a significant contribution to military effectiveness. This is especially true for a military force recruited from the population of a democracy. Although mechanisms dedicated to preserving both the personal dignity and individual integrity of troops do add complexity to the organization of combat support, experienced field commanders have long recognized that sustained military effort is impossible without them. Indeed, logistics, of which medical support is a key clement, is integral to sustainability. Experience teaches that these "support" considerations ultimately determine the order of battle, as well as the success of any military strategy.