Building Trust and Transparency in Contested Logistics

Managing risk in logistics for today’s global defense supply chains can be very complex. If you add adversarial conflict to the equation, the defense environment — known as contested logistics — requires a different approach. In contested environments, the security of supply chain operations takes on an urgency that demands trust and transparency to maintain resilience and readiness.

 

In a contested logistics environment, an adversary tries to disrupt or destroy logistics operations, supply chain continuity, facilities, and more. With the global nature of supply chains, the disruptions can happen in any jurisdiction and any domain, including land, sea, air, and cyberspace.

Key Factors of Contested Logistics

The nature of contested logistics brings unique considerations for supply chain management, and all are essential for enabling the warfighter and ensuring mission success.

 

Security and threat environment: The operational environment is characterized by active threats from adversaries, including enemy forces, insurgents, terrorists, or cyber attackers.

 

Risk of disruption: Higher risk of disruption due to enemy actions aimed at targeting supply lines, infrastructure, or personnel, including attacks on convoys, sabotage of transportation networks, or cyberattacks on logistics systems.

 

Technology vulnerabilities: increasing reliance on technology in logistics operations introduces new risks related to both physical and digital threats and vulnerabilities.

 

Complexity and uncertainty: Contested logistics operations are characterized by greater complexity and uncertainty due to the dynamic nature of conflict, shifting front lines, and the need for rapid adaptation to changing circumstances.

 

Geopolitical considerations: Contested logistics are often influenced by geopolitical factors such as territorial disputes, international sanctions, or diplomatic tensions between nations.

 

Security measures and protocols: Contested logistics require enhanced security and defense measures to protect personnel, assets, and information from hostile threats. This can include surveillance systems, encryption technologies, and physical barriers.

 

The Case for Trust in Contested Logistics

Traditional logistics and supply chain management focus largely on optimization, readiness, and resilience. Adding trust and transparency to these priorities can reduce vulnerabilities, increase security, and switch a reactive posture to proactive — an essential advantage in contested logistics.

 

Specifically, trust and transparency will be necessary for these four components in the supplier ecosystem:

 

Entities

Data about individual organizations to the full network of relationships must be analyzed to surface the full range of third-party and supply chain risks. These can involve foreign ownership or influence, sanctions, corporate governance, social responsibility, financial liability, and more. Visibility across all risk categories can help organizations proactively avoid disruptions and mitigate risks that threaten multi-tiered supply chains today.

 

Parts

Security and visibility at the raw material or item level can help ensure confidence throughout an entire weapons system, sensor, vehicle, or hardware. The ability to safely monitor and control the supply of components and material-inputs for critical systems is essential. Get answers to determine security, vulnerability, provenance, quality, and resilience for any hardware components present in technology.

 

Code

Software assurance and software bill of materials (SBOM) security is necessary for being able to operate and communicate in a hostile environment. Open-source software accounts for 75% of codebases, on average, which is a major source of unknown risks. A solution that detects leading risk indicators before they become known vulnerabilities can help navigate a host of supplier and code risks, including poor maintenance, single maintainer, counterfeit, dubious provenance, technical debt, end-of-life, and more.

 

People

You must understand the risks in a network of individuals before granting them access to data, hardware, systems, or physical installations. Examples include personnel for critical or dual use technologies where IP theft could occur or employees working for critical suppliers. Building trust could mean creating partnerships with local vendors, for example, that can yield advantages like intimate knowledge of terrain and regional logistics as well as diversified supply chains for resilience against disruptions.

 

Establishing trust at every level — from individual companies, people, parts, and code to full physical and digital supply chains, entity ecosystems, and networks of individuals — is essential to reduce vulnerability and secure ability to operate and sustain.

 

Technology That Drives Transparency in Contested Logistics

The AI and advanced technology in the 1Exiger platform deliver the end-to-end visibility in supply chains that builds a foundation of trust. The platform includes the world’s largest corporate and supply chain dataset, analyzing over 16 million supply chains, 600 million legal entities, and 7 billion supply chain source records to illuminate every dimension of the supplier ecosystem.

 

What’s more, Exiger’s Proactive Intelligence empowers organizations with advanced predictive risk analytics, accurate supplier data, and insights into supply chain crises as they arise. This capability allows customers to prioritize the insights and make quick, informed decisions to maintain continuity of supply and improve resilience.

 

Recently a federal agency chose Exiger to illuminate, analyze, and visualize hidden foreign influence for seaports in multiple areas of interest. The analysis uncovered several strategic-level risk insights, including physical and digital supply chains of critical ports being exposed to high-risk Chinese state-owned enterprises. Also, many of the ports lack sufficient organic railroad/multimodal assets, which can enable foreign state-owned entities to finance the transportation infrastructure to gain access near strategic ports.

 

Based on the information provided by Exiger, the agency was able to take immediate action to reduce the threat surface area for all forces, assets, and data flowing through strategic seaports. This kind of transparency across supplier ecosystems, together with predictive analysis, can provide the assurance needed to navigate risks and make trusted decisions in a contested logistics environment.

 

Contact us to learn more about how Exiger’s solutions build trust and transparency in contested logistics.

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