a. Advantages and Disadvantages of Military Pipelines. There are many advantages to using this
distribution method unique to liquid logistics. However, pipelines and hose lines have their limitations
also. Below we will discuss each.
(a) Pipelines offer many advantages over other conventional means of transporting
petroleum products. From an economic standpoint, the pipeline is the least expensive means in which to
send large quantities of products over distances.
(b) Pipelines are all-terrain modes of transportation which allow access to areas not
suitable for other forms of transportation.
(c) Pipelines relieve the burden of fuel transportation from rail and road nets, which are
more expensive and congested. Remember, approximately sixty percent of logistical tonnages is bulk
petroleum. Our current tactical pipeline system, the IPDS, can deliver almost one million gallons of fuel
forward each and every day. This frees up a least 200 military tankers to move forward to support the
Pipelines offer extremely poor targets for enemy aircraft.
Pipeline damage can be repaired much faster than damaged railroads or highways.
Pipeline operations are not affected by adverse weather conditions.
Pipeline use releases large numbers of personnel and vehicles for other logistical
Pipelines are subject to disruptions by sabotage and guerrilla attacks.
(b) Marine terminals, pump stations, and tank farm complexes are attractive targets for
enemy air and missile attacks.
Locating leaks and damage is time consuming.
The pipeline construction rate may lag behind the rate of combat advance.
b. Future Role of the Military Pipeline System. Although the face of modem warfare continues to
evolve, one thing remains certain. For the next several decades, our military machines will continue to
rely upon petroleum fuels. As such, our doctrine must continually expand to meet new missions.
Bulk Supply Concepts.
(a) Conventional warfare with large-scale military operations will be supplied with bulk
fuel up to or near front lines. It is reasonable to expect that packaged fuels will be only used as a
supplement to bulk supply methods when some forward areas are not accessible to bulk fuel
transporters; or in some cases, when rapidly advancing tactical situations dictate the need for additional
fuels to exploit the situation. To some extent, some fuels may be packaged strategically and delivered
directly into a combat theater to the end used. Regardless, throughput will be used as much as possible
to bypass levels of storage. Velocity forward is the key.