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Award-winning Research Supports New Military Logistics Model

MAJ Schwartz presents his research

Major Blake Schwartz, an NC State doctoral student and active duty Army officer, was awarded the 2018 Army Operations Research Symposium Best Paper for his research modeling logistics networks to support military operations.

Schwartz’s research titled “Leveraging Real-Time Data for Operational Sustainment Optimization” uses data analytics and large-scale simulation techniques to provide new capabilities to Army planners. It enables them to analyze the performance of a logistics network against a planned or current operation and could be used to sustain overseas operations.

“My primary goals are for improved Army operations,” said Schwartz, “I hope that Army planners can soon use the tools my research team is working on to improve logistics planning and operations.”

The new methods of measuring the performance of a sustainment network outlined in Schwartz research will further support the Military Logistics Network Planning System (MLNPS), a new model to provide automated assistance for military planners. It will allow them to generate and assess logistics plans and applications in humanitarian or disaster-relief scenarios.

The Army Operations Research Symposium Best Paper award is a highly coveted Department of the Army award, which brings further spotlight to this growing area of operational research.

“This is the first step in developing the mathematical tools necessary for the MLNPS to provide prescriptive power to users,” said Dr. Joseph Myers, program manager for the Army Research Office (ARO), an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, that funded the research, “Everything in the Army is a team, and a team of teams. This is a critical, can’t go to war without it, piece.”

“Everything in the Army is a team, and a team of teams. This is a critical, can’t go to war without it, piece.”

Schwartz’s research was produced using technology developed at NC State. Students like Schwartz, a member of the NC State Military Operations Research Group, who are interested in military and national security challenges work within the group to produce research— in Schwartz’s case, a culmination of three dissertations from fellow military students. 

“Blake’s research supports rapidly assessing logistic shortages,” said Brandon McConnell, an assistant research professor in the Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics. “It helps planners understand not only the contingency plans required for an operation, but when to trigger those alternative resources to better sustain the combat forces through potential disruptions to the supply chain.” 

“I’m excited that there’s interest from Army elements in this,” said Schwartz. “My goal in presenting the research to the Army analytic community was to generate interest in applying our modeling techniques to Army problems. I hope the award shows that our efforts were well received.”

The award presentation ceremony was hosted during the Army Operations Research Symposium at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, on October 22 – 24, 2019.