1. Aim. The aim of this first volume of the Logistics Branch Handbook is to provide to all members of the Logistics Branch a clear concise description of the traditions and historical background of the Logistics Branch, the goals of the Branch as a whole, and an indication of the way in which the Branch as a whole is organized to accomplish those goals.
  2. Volume 2 of the Handbook contains information relating to officers and officer specialties while Volume 3 provides similar information relating to NCMs. Specific MOC related information will be provided in volumes 4 to 10.
  3. Scope. This first volume of the Logistics Branch Handbook provides:
    1. an explanation of the Canadian Forces concept of logistics to include the purpose, role, functions and identity of the Logistics Branch within that concept;
    2. a concise overview of the history of military logistics with particular emphasis on the development of Canadian logistics. A separate history of each of the NCM occupations plus other unique information relating to each of the occupations will be included as separate volumes;
    3. a description of the Logistics training facilities; and
    4. an overview of the central headquarters in Ottawa, the environmental commands (Navy, Army and Air Force) and a description of the manner in which logistics support is provided to each of the environmental commands and to joint operations i.e. those involving more than one environmental command.
  4. This publication has been prepared as a general overview and does not discuss detailed doctrine or procedures, nor is it to be considered as a replacement for such study. Existing publications regarding specific subjects have been referenced for further review.


  1. Logistics is one of the three basic military arts in modern doctrine. These are:
    1. Strategy: the broad plans for employment of military sea, land and air forces. This includes the structure of the force and its broad objectives in times of peace and war;
    2. Tactics: the employment and maneuvering of forces to implement strategy; and
    3. Logistics: the provision of resources to support the strategy and tactics of combat forces.
  2. War cannot be won without a successful strategy. Strategic plans are useless without capable tactical forces to implement them. Tactical forces cannot operate without logistics support. Logistics resources dictate many of the considerations made in planning strategy. As can be seen, then, the three arts fit together in an interdependent manner, each of which is equally vital and indispensable in the conduct of any military operation.
  3. Many military men of great stature have discussed the historical fact that logistics has received less attention than strategy and tactics. During a lecture on generalship at Trinity College, Cambridge, General Sir Archibald Wavell stressed the importance of logistics planning, by saying "that strategy and tactics could be comprehended in a very short time by any reasonable human intelligence, but it was the principles and practice of military movement and administration - the "logistics" of war - that was of prime importance". He further advised the students "I should like you always to bear in mind when you study military history or military events the importance of this administrative factor, because it is where most critics and many generals go wrong".
  4. Chapter three of this first volume offers a short history of logistics primarily from a Canadian viewpoint and includes examples of the importance of logistics in earlier history. Historical aspects will also be included in the volume dealing with each of the individual occupations.


  1. Logistics has been given many definitions and conceptual applications, which may vary a great deal in detail but in fact include the same basic concerns. Notwithstanding, all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries now use the term "logistics". The definition of the term logistics, however, may differ from country to country, dependent upon which functional activities are included in their definition of the term.
  2. The origin of the word comes from the Greek "logistikos" from which the Latin "logisticus" is derived, both meaning calculation and reasoning in the mathematical sense. The modern word logistics has two meanings, one being the original "to reason mathematically"; the second is the military term (now used in civilian practice as well).
  3. While many historians have argued the use of the word in the ancient Roman Army, the modem military use of the word can be clearly traced to 17th century France. The Latin root "log" evolved into the French word, "loger" (to lodge). Around 1670 an adviser to Louis XIV suggested a new staff structure to solve the increasing administrative problems experienced as the early modern army evolved from medieval chaos. "One of the newly created positions was that of Marechal General de Logis, whose title came from the verb 'loger'. His duties included responsibility for planning marches, selecting camps, and regulating transportation and supply".
  4. The actual term "la logistique", translated in English to logistics, was coined from Marechal General de Logis (Quartermaster-General) by the foremost military theorist of the first half of the 19th century, Baron Antoine Henri Jomini. Based principally upon his war campaign experiences as a staff officer for Napoleon, Jomini wrote his Precis de L'art de la guerre (Summary of the Art of War) in 1836. Dividing the art of war into five branches - strategy, grand tactics, logistics, engineering and minor tactics - he defined logistics, "as the practical art of moving armies" by which he meant not merely the mechanics of transportation, but the staff work, administrative arrangements and even reconnaissance and intelligence involved in moving and sustaining organized military forces. Jomini determined the level at which logistics belonged in stating "it must be admitted that logistics is no longer merely a part of the science of staff'; it was a new science which will not only be that of the staff but that of generals-in-chief". As seen above, this same view of logistics being a science to be studied by generals was voiced by General Wavell a hundred years later.
  5. From both the duties of the Marechal General de Logis and the writings of Jomini, came the start of modern logistics. The differences in the details of the two may also be a factor in the present differences in the many definitions and conceptions of the word. Had logistics received continued study from Jomini's time, perhaps these and other added differences would have been resolved. However it was not Jomini, but Karl Clausewitz's Vom Kriege (On War), published posthumously in 1831, that came to dominate military thinking and practices in the latter half of the 19th century. The Prussian Clausewitz's work, sometimes described as the "Bible of military science", earned him the reputation by many as the pre-eminent military thinker of western society. Brilliant in its evolution of strategy and tactics, Vom Kriege virtually ignored logistics. Thus as the leading military men of the world adopted the Prussian interpretation of Clausewitz's theory of war, the concept of logistics lost most of the military meaning that Jomini had given it. That situation persisted in the mainstream of military thinking until the second quarter of the 20th century. This is not to say the components of logistics were ignored, but logistics as a separate concept was given very little attention, hence no conceptual development.
  6. Although American military colleges and their graduates produced many writings with respect to Jomini's logistics in the early 20th century, they were virtually ignored until WW II. That war thrust upon the military the requirement for the movement of supplies as well as the movement and sustenance of men and equipment, throughout almost the entire world and on a scale totally unequalled in prior military history. The concepts and practices used by the US Forces to meet their portion of these requirements came to be called logistics, and by the end of World War II logistics was an official word in US military terminology, and was recognized by all the Allies.
  7. Of the many definitions of logistics, some went as far as using it to embrace "all military activities not included in the terms 'strategy' or 'tactics', to include facilities construction and maintenance, communications, medicine and personnel, as well as the traditional full range of supply and transportation activities. In the Canadian military, the term originally was not officially used at all, but rather, the British term "Administration" was adopted. Logistics functions were included in "Administration" which was defined as "the organization, discipline and well being of men and the movement and maintenance of men and materiel".
  8. Today in the CF, "Administration" is defined in the NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions as the management and execution of all military matters not included in tactics and strategy; primarily in the field of logistics and personnel management. At the higher management levels, the term 'Support' is often used in a similar vein. At a more tactical level, the term "Combat Service Support (CSS)" is often heard and this is defined as that support provided to combat forces in the fields of logistics and personnel management over which the formation commander exercises direct control.
  9. The CF is comprised of several Branches, which perform logistics functions, of which the Logistics Branch is one. When referring to the Logistics Branch and its component disciplines, it is written with a capital letter and often referred to as "Big L" logistics.


  1. The NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions provides the following official definition of "logistics" in the Canadian Forces.
    "The science of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects of military operations, which deal with:
    1. the design, development, acquisition, storage, movement, distribution, maintenance, evacuation and disposal of materiel;
    2. the movement, evacuation and hospitalization of personnel;
    3. the acquisition or construction, maintenance, operation, and disposition of facilities; and
    4. the acquisition or furnishing of services. "
    5. From this definition it can be appreciated that modern logistics is a very complicated and far reaching discipline. To obtain a better understanding of its complexity, one need only concentrate upon the words "materiel", "personnel", "facilities" and "services". It is these "aspects of military operations" with which logisticians deal, perhaps not as the office of primary interest but always as an involved party. The functions evolving from this definition include:
      1. supply chain management, which includes but is not limited to: materiel acquisition, storage, distribution and disposal,
      2. transportation: materiel movement, distribution, personnel movement, and evacuation;
      3. facility services;
      4. financial services;
      5. financial management;
      6. food services, clinical nutrition, and nutrition education;
      7. personnel services including personnel movement and documentation;
      8. postal services;
      9. maintenance: materiel maintenance and facility maintenance; and
      10. engineering: materiel design, development, facility construction, and maintenance.
  2. Each of these functions are professional fields within the military and can be divided into two distinct groups - those whose concerns and interests are expressed entirely within this definition of logistics, and those which go beyond the limitations contained in the definition. All but the last two are encompassed in today's definition of the term logistics and the professionals performing these services collectively make up the Logistics Branch of the Canadian Forces. The engineering aspects are part of other CF Branches but ones in which Logistics Officers may become very involved. Although different Branches, the two functional groups nevertheless work closely together in the mutual effort required to support combat operations and equipment acquisition. The present philosophy has logisticians and engineers formed into teams working very closely together in all aspects of equipment acquisition and support.


  1. CFAO 2-10 states the "Personnel Branches were created to enable members of the Canadian Forces in related occupations to identify with each other in cohesive professional groups. These groups are based on similarity of military roles, customs and traditions.". A product of the integration of the three former services, and following a subsequent series of restructurings and amalgamations, the Logistics Branch is comprised of the following CF Regular Force military occupations:
    1. Logistics Officer, MOC 78;
    2. Resource Management Support (RMS) Clerk, MOC 836;
    3. Cook, MOC 861;
    4. Postal Clerk, MOC 881;
    5. Supply Technician, MOC 911;
    6. Ammunition Technician, MOC 921;
    7. Traffic Technician, MOC 933; and
    8. Mobile Support Equipment (MSE) Operator, MOC 935.
  2. Disciplines. The Logistics Officer occupation consists of the following environmental professional fields or sub-occupations:
    1. Logistics Sea, sub-MOC 78B;
    2. Logistics Land, sub-MOC 78C; and
    3. Logistics Air, sub-MOC 78D.
  3. Officer Specialties. Within each of the above sub-occupations are the following areas of officer specialization and each officer must become professionally competent in at least one of these:
    1. Supply Chain Management (SCM, qualification code AIHJ). This principal qualification enables the member to undertake the duties and responsibilities associated with performance measurement and cycle time development and control of inventory and management of materiel. This will include monitoring warehouse utilization, approving contracts and procurement, supporting deployed operations, organizing distribution, materiel movements and ensuring adherence to TB, HAZMAT and workplace safety regulations;
    2. Transportation (Tn, qualification code AIHK). This principal qualification will enable the member to undertake the duties and responsibilities associated with basic MSE operations and safety, and the management of the vehicle fleet under their control and basic movement of cargo and people in support of military operations;
    3. Human Resources Management (HRM, qualification code AIHL). This principal qualification enables the member to undertake the duties and responsibilities associated with Personnel Administration and Personnel Services;
    4. Financial Management (Fin Mgt, qualification code AIHM). This principal qualification enables the member to undertake the duties and responsibilities associated with Organization and Establishment control, prepare/review costing of activities and cost benefits analysis, design Activity Based Costing/cost centre management, conduct Alternate Service Delivery process, assess and report on Business Plan performance, manage public revenue, contracting goods and services at the local level and Comptrollership; and
    5. Food Services (Food Svcs, qualification code AIHN). This principal qualification will enable the member to undertake the duties and responsibilities associated with Food Services in static locations and in support of deployed operations. This will include co-ordinating, organizing and monitoring food procurement and production, use of labour and facilities, and contracts for food services in accordance with national standards.
  4. NCM Specialties. For Logistics Branch NCMs there are seven separate occupations. They are:
    1. Resource Management Support Clerk (RMS Clk) MOC 836 who performs the entire spectrum of personnel administration services including personal documentation for current members of the military, release processing, central registry services, public and non-public fund accounting and public fund operations and operations support of the construction engineering function;
    2. Cook MOC 861 who deal with food services and in some case administration of single quarters;
    3. Postal Clerk (Postal Clk) MOC 881 who handle all aspects of mail to and from units of the Canadian Forces, no matter where they may be in the world;
    4. Supply Technician (Sup Tech) MOC 911 who deal with the procurement, management, preservation and disposal of inventory;
    5. Ammunition Technician (Ammo Tech) MOC 921 who deal with the procurement, management, preservation and disposal of ammunition;
    6. Traffic Technician (Tfc Tech) MOC 933 who deal with the movement of personnel and materiel by all modes of transportation , as well as the loading, unloading and receipt of inventory into the supply system; and
    7. Mobile Support Equipment Operator (MSE Op) MOC 935 who must be proficient in the operation and maintenance of the full spectrum of vehicles in the Canadian Forces inventory.


  1. Logisticians support those who sail ships, fire weapons and fly aircraft. Most often, logisticians support combat personnel by becoming members of a ship's company, a field unit, or an air squadron, hence, they must become sailors, soldiers or airmen as well as logisticians. At other times, logisticians provide support from Bases/Wings or Headquarters in order to satisfy requirements, be they sea, land or air. Because we serve with the combat personnel in all operational elements, every logistician must be capable of serving with at least one of the environmental commands: Maritime Command, Land Force Command or Air Command.
  2. The primary purpose of the Canadian Forces is to be prepared for war. All members of the CF must condition themselves, both mentally and physically, to be ready to defend Canada, and/or our allies, against any aggression at sea, on land or in the air. As a military force we exist primarily for this reason and also for other reasons which are identified from time to time by our Government. Each CF Branch has specific missions to perform. Its primary mission is its raison d'�tre.
  3. Mission Statement. The Logistics Branch's role is to provide and/or monitor the CF policies and systems which enable logisticians to be recruited, trained and professionally developed. The ultimate goal of the Branch is to ensure the provision of members who are capable of effectively supporting naval, army and air force operations, in all phases of armed conflict, peacekeeping and aid of the civil power. The primary mission of the Branch can therefore be stated as:
  4. "The mission of the Logistics Branch is to provide and maintain a framework which will enable the development of highly motivated and competent logisticians who are operationally focused. Their development will be based upon employment which requires a balanced blend of combat service support and core professional competence in logistics."
  5. Vision Statement. Logistics Branch members are required to perform their duties to two fundamental standards. First and foremost, they must be operationally effective in their military roles. Second, they must be efficient as judged by value-for-money business criteria. The Branch will therefore have to continually strive to compete, with both military and civilian contexts, to demonstrate that it is the provider of choice for logistical services to the CF and DND. The vision of the Logistics Branch can therefore be stated as:
  6. "The vision of the Logistics Branch is to be instrumental in developing logisticians who will be universally recognised, by both military and civilian authorities, as the most effective and efficient option for the provision of logistical services to the Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence."


  1. Logisticians of all ranks must be prepared for war. This is the personal commitment every logistician must make. If one can not make that commitment, mentally or physically, logistics is not the career to choose.
  2. It is an unfortunate misconception, shared by many that logistics is a "desk job"- it is not. While logisticians often provide service support from fairly modern, and clean buildings, they are also found functioning within a ship, off the back of a truck, out of tents, or within the passenger or cargo compartment of aircraft working as team members with the "sharp-enders". Nor are logisticians limited to logistics responsibilities. They are trained in the use of weapons for the defence of their units and positions. Logisticians participate in exercises and operations in order to practice leadership, test mental and physical preparedness, and demonstrate their logistics skills. Regardless of environmental affiliation, logisticians can fully expect to work for long hours, sometimes days, in searing heat, drenching rain or bone numbing cold. When the mission dictates, service will continue to be provided past the point of individuals' mental and/or physical endurance. This will happen in war; hence it must be practiced in peacetime.
  3. There will be other times during a career when logisticians work in a Base/Wing or a Headquarters. The role of a Base/Wing is to support operational functions. The role of a Headquarters is to command, advise, direct and co-ordinate operational and support functions. All logisticians in the CF have these "desk jobs" at one time or another during their careers. However in the event of mobilization, the planning and managerial aspects of logistics will most likely be given over to newly recruited personnel that are quickly available from the civilian population. Those serving logisticians, who have through the years gained experience under trying conditions, will go to serve in the operational units of Maritime Command, the Land Force and Air Command.
  4. While there must be no misunderstanding that Officer and senior NCO responsibilities differ, if for no other reason that the legal ramifications of the Queen's Commission provided to an officer, in terms of management there is a blurring of the distinction. Officers and senior NCOs must be leaders first and foremost. In the final analysis, each officer and NCM's training leads him/her toward a leadership role. It may be quite difficult for the average leader to understand the seriousness and magnitude of military leadership. While leadership is required in all walks of life, military leadership has demands unique unto itself. Some are natural leaders, but the majority develops leadership qualities through constant effort. Military subordinates cannot be just managed; they must be both led and managed. Moreover, unique to the military, this leadership responsibility continues every hour of every day throughout one's career.
  5. All officers and senior NCMs must possess the mental and physical attributes necessary to perform their primary function in the adverse conditions of war, thereby enhancing their subordinates' and their own survivability and thus their collective chance of success in accomplishing the mission(s). During their careers in the CF, members are given training courses and other opportunities to continuously condition their minds. Physical conditioning is a personal discipline sometimes, but not always, built into every duty day. That mind and that body must be committed to support our operational forces, both as a professional logistician and most importantly as a leader of men and women.