This thought piece was provided by an author who prefers to remain anonymous.
Emerging strategies require changes in doctrine, manpower, equipment and training. Much more could be said to frame there strategies, but that is not the intent of this missive. The intent is that equipping the future force will take time and creative thinking. Logisticians must drive this creativity and this will require actions before firm requirements are established. Waiting for someone to totally define the concept and the T/E will put logisticians behind the 8-ball. Stated another way, what logisticians fail to imagine will kill the Marine Corps in the future. An example: Start thinking about EABO sets now – how many do we need, where will they be located, etc., etc. The following are a series of initiatives to shape a strategy for ground equipment. It is not meant to be all inclusive nor provide specific details but rather provide leadership and spur discussion for developing detailed options.
Single MPS (have only one MPS): The constant refrain is ships are susceptible to A2AD. Turn in excess ships to RRF. Take equipment that comes from the dissolved MPS and outfit existing requirements. This could include establishing CAPSETs for EABO (this could involve CSLs in Africa). The single MPS remains for strategic flexibility. The Marine Corps then works with the Navy to pursue maritime platforms that support rapid transfer of assets under the EABO concept (e.g. connectors).
Approved Acquisition Objective (AAO) Categories Realigned: The existing AAOs do not adequately provide the “binning” required to meet future requirements. For example: MAP-K exists but nothing for Darwin; prepo (both land & maritime) exists in “war reserve”; War Reserve is spread across several elements of the AAO – why? Future AAO categories need to accurately align to concepts.
Establish a “CRAF/VISA”-like Program: From a strategic level, the US maintains an initial capability to provide aircraft and shipping to support major theater war deployment. When needed, levels of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) and Volunteer Intermodal Shipping Agreement (VISA) are implemented in stages and “rent capability” to meet demands above active duty and reserve capability. Currently, USMC has bought ground equipment that potentially is not needed in the quantities we currently retain. Equipment (e.g., dozers, generators) could be commercially sourced as needed. Not recommending get rid of all but simply reduce existing quantities that are rusting in equipment lots.
Expand Storage: A common refrain is “we have too much equipment.” No one knows how much, but that extra equipment is consuming O&S funding as well as maintainer hours to conduct PM’s/fix. There are many programs to store equipment but dehumidified storage (this has already been extensively studied) is the most cost efficient in the long run and best to enhance readiness of equipment.
Implement CBM (or CBM+): This is a time tested concept (Waddington effect from 1943). Every time LCpl Marine touches a piece of equipment, he likely does as much damage as good. Embedded in this is the sense-and-respond initiatives and all future actions to enhance readiness. Not saying don’t do PMs, but don’t fix something that ain’t broke.
Establish T/As for the OPFOR: Currently, the OPFOR operates with a T/E. This requires O&S dollars to maintain the T/E as well as maintainers. Additionally, for those TAMs that apply, depot maintenance needs to be factored in. In some cases, potentially a unit does not need their complete T/E on a full time basis. For example, could a tank battalion operate with two vice three companies of tanks? Also, this initiative could be coupled with enhanced storage and that equipment would serve as the “go to war” set (and be the full T/E).
IT Supporting Strategy: A logistics IT strategy that is realistic and funded is desperately needed. A portion of this is GCSS-MC -- a Marine Corps data system, not a logistics system. Until we have an IT system that allows us to know what we have, where it’s located, what it costs, and what condition it’s in we will continue to languish.
The above initiatives do not discount emerging initiatives such as 3-D printing, UAS, better supply chain management, etc. All this (and more) needs to be incorporated and our challenges are large – but solvable. The right attitude with the right people and the right leadership listening to all the ideas will rule the day.