MARINE CORPS LOGISTIC BASE ALBANY, GA -- The Marine Corps Materiel Command held a Marine Logistics Command Supply and Maintenance Planning Working Group Conference here June 17-20.
The conference was held to develop a standard operating procedure for logistically supporting a large Marine force deployed to a combat environment. Although a plan has been used in the past for deployed Marine forces, key personnel saw the need to finely tune the processes.
"We needed to define the roles and responsibilities of all the Marine organizations and external supply and maintenance support agencies when sending Marines into a theater of operations," said Col. B.G. Lee, director of operations for the Materiel Command.
When a large Marine force is sent to fight, a Marine Logistics Command is established. The roles and responsibilities of this command were discussed during the four-day conference. In keeping with the Corps' mission of always being ready and expeditionary, key personnel institutionalized a method of logistically supporting troops when conducting combat operations, said Lee.
Conference attendees were Marines from various bases throughout the Corps who have extensive knowledge of logistical support. Since the MLC will be in charge of re-supplying Marines and maintaining the equipment they use during wartime, supply and maintenance experts were also on hand.
Even though the Materiel Command has supported a large force in a combat environment in the past, the MLC concept is new and needs to be documented, said Lee.
Military planners want to ensure the most efficient procedures possible will be in place if needed, said Col. Bruce Bissett, commanding officer, 1st Supply Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Accordingly, the need for a common communication system was previously identified. For instance, if a deployed unit needs a replacement part for a piece of equipment, that need must be clearly communicated to supply depots stateside. Personnel at the supply depots will determine the most effective method for shipping the part to the unit. An information system shared by Marine Expeditionary Units and supply depots will simplify this process.
The Materiel Command's Marine Corps Logistics Bases and its Maritime Prepositioning Force Program ensures that Marine Expeditionary Forces can arrive in-theater with supplies adequate for 60 days. The MPF ships carry everything Marines will need - beans, bullets, band-aids and food, water, gasoline, weapon systems, vehicles and much more, said Lee.
However, once a joint theater of operations is established, the Army sets up a command for getting food to all American troops overseas, said Bissett. Therefore, efficient coordination between the Army and the Marine Corps must be in place to ensure sufficient food supplies are on hand when needed.
Attendees discussed various topics to ensure all needed support would be efficiently and effectively provided for troops overseas. This may seem simple, but with many different agencies involved in supplying an enormous force of troops and equipment, information can be lost along the way.
During the four-day conference detailed notes were taken to define procedures that are now being documented in a "play book" to map out the standard operating procedures when supporting a MEF-size Marine Air Ground Task Force in a combat zone.