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The Marine Corps logistics community is augmenting its aggressive efforts to conserve resources with creative new approaches to confronting budget austerity, according to the two-star director of Logistics Plans and Operations.
One recent example, said Maj. Gen. Michael Dana, is a space-available system that allows planners to use other services’ cargo planes for hauling equipment and supplies. Additionally, the logistics community is focused on finding ways to lighten the load for individual Marines and units.
“A Marine can wear up to 93 pounds of gear, and it’s about $15,000 to outfit [him],” Dana said. “Is there a way to get that down to 60 pounds, to 50 pounds? Is there a way that we can make that protection stay the same, but reduce the weight footprint?”
At the unit level, there are prospective buyers for some 2,500 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles and other deployed gear no longer needed. Motor transport assets are getting pared off. Of the $25 billion worth of inventory, the Corps already has eliminated $1.2 billion in excess gear.
Officials are focusing on pre-positioning as yet another way to allow units to carry less from home. Along with two remaining maritime pre-positioning squadrons (one was disestablished last year), the Corps continues to resource locations in Norway and Kuwait, and is planning to create separate mission-specific force modules on existing squadrons, an effort that should be complete by 2020.
Yet Dana said the goal for the Marine Corps’ post-Afghanistan Pacific shift is not just lean, light units. It’s also focused on providing commanders with more choices.
“You’ll have different elements or packages that are going to give the commander the option if he wants to go light or heavy,” he said. “Here’s a light package, here’s a medium package, here’s a heavy package. ... Based on mission analysis, what do you want to go with?”