U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aldo Sessarego

Tagup Launches Manifest AI for Next-Generation Defense Logistics

Manifest for defense logistics is an artificial intelligence (AI) supply chain optimization platform that maximizes readiness, budget efficiency, and productivity

We are excited to announce the launch of Manifest for defense logistics. Manifest is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that dynamically optimizes inventory management and mobilization planning to maximize readiness, budget efficiency, and productivity. Logistics is the foundation of military power—the ability to rapidly deploy and sustain military forces across vast distances is not just a strategic advantage, but a fundamental necessity. Manifest uses machine learning (ML) and the tremendous amounts of logistics data the military has available to empower our armed forces to achieve unmatched efficiency, agility, and precision in military operations.

Factors limiting today’s logistics enterprise

Two primary factors threaten today’s defense logistics enterprise: first, inventory overstocking and shortages, and second, the evolving modern battlefield. While each factor in isolation necessitates a change in the current logistics enterprise, the convergence of both in today’s operational environment signals the urgent need for innovation and modernization within military logistics now.

Inventory overstocking and shortages

Today’s defense logistics enterprise is plagued by inventory overstocking and shortages, both of which limit readiness, budget efficiency, and productivity. Shortages of critical supplies, equipment, and repair parts result in suboptimal readiness, jeopardizing mission success and exposing our forces to increased risk. Overstocking and underutilization of supplies and equipment result in substantial budgetary waste and misallocation of resources. These “iron mountains” of stockpiled inventory are difficult to move quickly as conditions on the ground change, and are increasingly becoming enemy targets. Additionally, having the wrong supplies in the wrong place at the wrong time can result in adversaries gaining access to inventory left behind in contested environments.

There are several causes of inventory shortages and overstocking in today’s logistics enterprise:

  • Data fragmented across siloed information systems: The logistics enterprise produces extensive volumes of data, including transactional data, consumption rates, and fulfillment data. However, data is fragmented across siloed information systems, making it difficult to use at scale and limiting command-level visibility into the state of logistics operations.
  • Lack of predictive modeling capabilities: While the enterprise has the data available to accurately forecast demand and consumption, information systems lack the predictive modeling capabilities necessary for strategic planning and forecasting operational readiness accurately.
  • Complex relationships and boundless permutations: Permutations to achieve a given objective are too numerous and data relationships are too complex for humans to calculate by hand. While some users build bespoke tools for analysis, these tools often rely on simple rules and fixed heuristics, limiting their effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Long customer wait time (CWT) and low fill rate: CWT in the military tends to be much longer and fill rate much lower than private sector benchmarks.

The combination of these factors contributes to essential supplies not being on-hand or delivered when needed as well as the development of “iron mountains” of stockpiled inventory in an effort to meet demand and prevent stockouts. The result is suboptimal readiness, budget efficiency, and productivity.

The evolving modern battlefield

While our logistics enterprise is weighed down by these challenges, our adversaries are rapidly adopting emerging technologies to advance their logistics capabilities. For example, logistics is the Chinese military’s third highest priority area among seven application areas for AI. In fact, China is investing in AI for military logistics at a rate nearly three times that of the U.S., with 16% of its military AI contracts awarded for logistics compared with 6% for the U.S. 

This adversarial recognition of the importance of logistics in advancing military power is also demonstrated by the evolution of the battlefield to a contested logistics environment. Adversaries are increasingly targeting logistics operations, requiring the U.S. to apply combat power to preserve logistics capabilities. The U.S. will need to adapt quickly to unexpected changes and disruptions in the supply chain as adversaries increasingly target logistics operations.

To safeguard national security, maximize mission success, and deter conflict, we must modernize our logistics enterprise. We built Manifest for defense logistics to deliver the agile, resilient, and responsive logistics enterprise required for the modern battlefield.

What is Manifest for defense logistics?

Manifest uses AI to dynamically optimize various aspects of defense logistics, including inventory management, mobilization planning, and resource allocation. Manifest unifies fragmented logistics data and trains ML models on this rich historical data to anticipate logistics needs and guide strategic, mission-critical planning efforts.

Manifest is able to address each of the challenges that today’s logistics enterprise faces:

Logistics Challenge Manifest Solution
Data fragmented across siloed information systems Manifest unifies and standardizes siloed logistics data to provide a common logistics operating picture to intermediate between headquarters and the field, empowering commanders and logisticians to make faster, more informed decisions
Lack of predictive modeling capabilities Manifest trains sophisticated ML models on years of historical data to forecast previously difficult-to-predict logistics variables (demand, consumption, replenishment, expiration, transportation, lead times, etc.) based on user-specified parameters (deployment date, duration, location, required units/capabilities, etc.) to reach an objective (maximum readiness, budget efficiency, etc.)
Complex relationships and boundless permutations Manifest’s ML models can identify the best course of action to achieve a given objective from a host of complex permutations; additionally, Manifest’s ML models learn and improve over time
Long CWT and low fill rate Manifest intelligently pre-positions supplies across a “sustainment web” in forward deployed locations to reduce CWT and improve fill rate, minimizing reliance on “iron mountains”
Contested logistics environment of the modern battlefield Manifest simulates contested logistics as a function of shocks to supply, demand, or availability of transport to improve the resilience of the supply chain
Adversarial adoption of AI in defense logistics Manifest makes modern AI techniques available at the fingertips of commanders and logisticians, delivering efficiencies that secure our logistical advantage

“Our adversaries are taking advantage of the rapid technological advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning to strengthen their military operations. We’re committed to making sure our forces don’t fall behind near peers and are able to use AI to safeguard national security and deter conflict,” said Jon Garrity, CEO of Tagup. “We developed Manifest for defense logistics to deliver the efficiency, agility, and precision our logistics enterprise needs to stay competitive on the modern battlefield. We take this responsibility very seriously, and are determined to use AI to give our forces a strategic and tactical edge.”

With these capabilities, Manifest improves the ability of the logistics enterprise to deliver three key outcomes:

  • Readiness: With Manifest, users can either optimize inventory to increase readiness for the same level of budget, or reduce inventory costs while maintaining the same level of readiness.
  • Budget efficiency: Manifest right-sizes inventory to prevent overstocking and minimize waste, enabling users to maximize readiness for a given budget.
  • Productivity: Manifest optimizes workloads and minimizes staff time on manual tasks, such as managing data or placing orders, allowing personnel to focus on mission-essential tasks.

Manifest’s real-world value

Manifest was tested and refined in close collaboration with the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and U.S. Navy, and with on-the-ground, intimate knowledge of the defense supply chain. This iterative, bespoke development process has resulted in a platform that demonstrates the following outcomes for the defense logistics enterprise:

  • Increase force readiness by 13% at fixed budget. 
  • Increase order fill rate by 6% at fixed budget.
  • Reduce inventory costs by 13% while maintaining readiness.
  • Increase logistician productivity by 25%.

“This particular application would do wonders for any of those commodities planning deployments to maximize readiness, mobility, and survivability,” said a USMC Chief Warrant Officer 4.

Each branch of the military manages inventories of significant value. The value of Operating Materials and Supplies (OM&S) in 2023 was $91.4 billion for the Navy, $6.8 billion for the Marine Corps, $45.1 billion for the Army, and $64.7 billion for the Air Force. Reducing inventory costs by 13% across the branches of service while maintaining the same level of readiness would amount to substantial savings without compromising combat power or mission success.

Modernizing the logistics enterprise with Manifest

Adversarial use of emerging technologies and the contested logistics environment of the evolving modern battlefield make it more urgent than ever to address the limitations of our current logistics enterprise. The modern battlefield calls for an agile, responsive, and resilient logistics enterprise capable of adapting to evolving threats and rapidly changing conditions on the ground. However, data silos, lack of predictive modeling capabilities, high CWT, and low fill rates limit the current logistics enterprise’s ability to deliver these capabilities and efficiencies. We developed Manifest for defense logistics to eliminate these limitations and deliver the logistics enterprise our military needs to secure our logistical advantage in this new era of warfare. We’re committed to using AI to ensure our military has the tools it needs to safeguard national security, maximize combat power, and deter conflict.

Just as logistics operations are often overshadowed by combat operations, so too are logistics AI applications overshadowed by combat AI applications. However, logistics is the cornerstone of military power—it is the deciding factor in ensuring personnel, equipment, and supplies are in the right place at the right time. Our adversaries recognize this and have made significant investments in AI to enhance their logistics capabilities, investments that far exceed those of the U.S. The time to modernize our logistics enterprise is now. Manifest redefines how we conduct military logistics and ushers the enterprise into the new age of modern warfare.

To learn more about how Manifest can help you achieve next-generation defense logistics, request a demo today.

Nicole Laskowski
Nicole Laskowski
Head of Brand & Communications
May 1, 2024