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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Foreign military officers tour LOGCOM, MCA

By Art Powell | | March 18, 2010

A delegation of four French army officers toured Marine Corps Logistics Command and Maintenance Center Albany, March 11, to study Marine Corps logistics and maintenance operations.

The French are planning to reduce the size of their army to the approximate size of the U.S. Marine Corps, and the group visited several Department of Defense facilities in the United States to better understand the size of maintenance operations needed for a force of that size.

“The French army is going through a change, they are shrinking from a larger force to a smaller force,” said Maj. George Paliama, special projects officer, Supply Management Center, LOGCOM. “So, they are looking at how the Marine Corps performs logistics because their down-sized army will be approximately the size of the Marine Corps.”

“Since the French army won’t adopt an expeditionary capability such as the Marine Corps, the delegation also toured U.S. Army facilities on their journey,” Paliama said. “They looked at Army facilities because they aren’t as expeditionary as we are. The French saw that all maintenance and repair activities don’t have to be performed at one facility, and can be conducted jointly across the military branches.”

One of the officers is stationed at Ft. Lee, Va., as a liaison officer, the other three traveled from France.

“I am happy to be here because it gives me the opportunity to compare the French Army maintenance with your maintenance,” said Col. Michel Ledanseur, operations maintenance office chief, French army. “Even though the size of the French army is comparable with the Marine Corps, the mission is not the same because the Corps’ is an expeditionary force,” Ledanseur said.

The difference in missions between the French army and the Marine Corps doesn’t mean that all logistics will be different.

“It is interesting to compare how you deliver services,” Ledanseur explained.

The French delegation’s first stop on their tour was in Washington, D.C.

“Our briefing at G-4 at the Pentagon was about global maintenance, then, after that, we went to the Army Materiel Command to focus on maintenance. It was important and we had the opportunity to ask many questions. The main idea is to compare our system and your systems. We may not have the same enemies, but we can compare our choice with your choice to optimize our choice,” said Ledanseur, who is chief of the operations office of the French army.

Among other tasks, he is responsible for supplying French overseas operations with spare parts and equipment; managing distribution within the French army and coordinating the reformation of the French army because, he said, “We must reorganize in order to optimize.”

“While the French are interested in reducing the size of their army, the Brazilian government is planning on increasing the size of their Marine forces,” Paliama said.

That fact led to a visit from a Brazilian officer who received similar briefings and an MCA tour Friday.

“Brazil wants to grow their Marine-type forces, so they want to see how we do it,” Paliama said. “Because France and Brazil are smaller than the United States, their officers want to see how a smaller force, like the Marines, handles their logistics.”