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Common-user logistics (CUL)

Definition Common-User Logistics (CUL) is a military term that refers to a system of logistics where a group of users shares the same resources for support, such as transportation, supply and services. This is usually coordinated or provided by a single agency. This system can increase efficiency, reduce redundancy, and can be applied within civil […]


Common-User Logistics (CUL) is a military term that refers to a system of logistics where a group of users shares the same resources for support, such as transportation, supply and services. This is usually coordinated or provided by a single agency. This system can increase efficiency, reduce redundancy, and can be applied within civil entities, different military services or multinational situations.

Key Takeaways

  1. Common-user logistics (CUL) is a function within military operations where support is provided on a shared basis to several programs, departments, or divisions. This allows for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness in logistic operations.
  2. The CUL approach aims to reduce duplication and waste in military operations by allowing multiple sectors to share and utilize resources. It promotes synergies and enables a more coherent and effective implementation of logistical strategies.
  3. Lastly, in the context of military operations, CUL specifically involves the coordination, planning, and execution of transportation, maintenance, and supply services. It emphasizes adaptability and responsiveness in order to meet the complexities of different missions and operational environments.


Common-user logistics (CUL) is a critical term in military operations as it refers to a series of services or supplies that are provided by a single agency or entity, but consumed by multiple military branches or departments for their specific missions.

This principle is vital as it ensures synergy, efficiency, and coordination among different military groups, helping to mitigate resource duplication and waste.

By sharing logistics, the military can unify efforts, achieve cost-effective solutions, streamline supply chain processes, and better manage inventory, ensuring that critical resources are effectively distributed and readily available across all operations.

Thus, the CUL principle is a fundamental component of successful military logistics management.


Common User Logistics (CUL) is a crucial component within the military operations framework, with the primary purpose to streamline and optimize the supply chains, thereby improving efficiency and effectiveness. It is a shared service model designed to enhance the delivery of logistical support across multiple military units or even across different nations’ defense forces during bilateral or multilateral operations. The CUL involves the sharing of transportation, supply, and services, and the utilization of common supply depots, terminals, pipelines, and similar facilities by more than one military department.

Its main aim is to reduce redundancy, facilitate interoperability, and more importantly, to ensure the rapid and sustained delivery of supplies to support the operational readiness of the forces. In real-world scenarios, CUL is frequently put into action in joint, coalition, or NATO operations. It is used to manage and distribute critical resources such as fuel, ammunition, food, medical supplies, and vehicles.

It is vitally important during demanding periods of operational tempo where the logistics footprint needs to be lean, and resources need to be allocated and shared effectively. The use of CUL also significantly reduced costs by eliminating unnecessary duplicate systems or processes, consolidating procurement, and enhancing the efficiency of the logistics process. Therefore, Common-user logistics plays an instrumental role in the seamless functioning of military operations by consolidating logistics resources, enhancing operational capability, and promoting efficient logistics management.

Examples of Common-user logistics (CUL)

Operation Iraqi Freedom: During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. military heavily relied on Common-User Logistics (CUL). With a highly decentralized operating environment, it was crucial to have a unified procurement, maintenance, and distribution system. This helped to ensure that all military factions had access to vital equipment, facilities, and services as efficiently as possible.

Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: CUL played a significant role in this operation. Given the geographical complexities and harsh climatic conditions of Afghanistan, the U.S. Armed Forces required a highly organized logistics system. Utilizing CUL enabled the shared use of numerous logistics assets like fuel, ammunition, medical equipment, and various military facilities, ensuring all military units had necessary resources.

NATO Peacekeeping Operations: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also employs CUL in its various peacekeeping operations around the world. Similar to any military campaign, their operations require robust and efficient logistics management. By using common-user logistics, NATO is able to make sure all member nations contributing troops and resources have equal access to the necessary logistics support.

FAQ: Common-user logistics (CUL)

What is Common-user logistics (CUL)?

Common-user logistics (CUL) is a military term referring to the shared usage of logistics resources and facilities by different military services, defence agencies, and multinational forces. This system offers an efficient and cost-effective solution for managing resources.

Why are Common-user logistics (CUL) important?

CUL are important because they promote operational efficiency and resource management. By sharing the cost and usage of logistics resources, military organizations can maximize their use and reduce overall costs. It also fosters collaboration and interoperability among different military services.

Who makes use of Common-user logistics (CUL)?

Several entities make use of CUL primarily including different military services, defence agencies, and sometimes even multinational forces in a joint operation. This cooperation allows for a smoother and more unified operation.

What are the challenges associated with Common-user logistics (CUL)?

Some of the challenges associated with CUL could include coordination issues, allocation of resources, and managing the differing requirements of users. Despite these challenges, the benefits of cost and resource efficiencies generally outweigh the difficulties.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Shared Inventory Management: This term refers to the management of stocks and supplies that multiple departments or organizations use commonly in the VA benefits framework.
  • Centralized Distribution: It is the process of dispatching resources from a centralized location to various end-users, ensuring streamlined operations within the VA facilities.
  • Joint Supply Chain: This refers to the collaborative approach of different departments to procure, distribute, and manage resources more effectively under VA benefits.
  • Integrated Logistics Support: This term means the comprehensive approach to managing all logistical aspects such as material management, maintenance, and technical support to improve efficiency.
  • Operational Readiness: Refers to the state of preparedness of the VA system to effectively execute its function, especially in emergencies. It heavily relies on CUL for achieving this readiness.

Sources for More Information

  • Global Security: A leading source of defence, space, intelligence and homeland security news, and military logistics analysis.
  • U.S. Department of Defense: Official website of the U.S. Department of Defense which provides comprehensive information on all aspects of military operations, including logistics.
  • National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA): Provides a legal and ethical forum for exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues.
  • Defense Acquisition University: Provides practitioner training, career management, and services to enable the acquisition, technology, and logistics workforce to make smart business decisions and deliver timely and affordable capabilities to the warfighter.

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