Logistics modernization numbers for the future of the Marine Corps > U.S. Department of Defense > Department of Defense News

Logistics modernization numbers for the future of the Marine Corps > U.S. Department of Defense > Department of Defense News

New watercraft, including autonomous ones, and new ways to work with partners are how the Marine Corps plans to improve its resupply methods through improved logistics.

It’s no surprise that logistics is central to successful military operations, but Marine Corps Deputy Commandant General Christopher Mahoney emphasized that point Tuesday in a conversation with the Defense One digital media platform in Washington, D.C.

“If you don’t think about it properly, if you don’t have strong, working systems, logistics can get bogged down,” Mahoney said.

Materiel command and control, or ensuring Marines have visibility into supplies and supplies, is just one part of the Marine Corps’ plan to improve the supply of supplies to the Marine Corps.

“We have some initiatives working on that,” he said. “One is the GPN, or Global Positioning Network, which I think has two main segments. There’s the terrestrial segment, where you can bring stocks forward to disrupt host countries and time and distance. We have agreements in place with countries. The maritime segment utilizes large cargo vessels that are part of maritime prepositioning squadrons that can maneuver across the maritime domain to place inventory where it is needed.”

Mahoney said the modernization of Marine Corps logistics (the system that gets needed supplies and materials to troops) will also include new transportation equipment that will allow the military to do more than what is currently possible. His one of those options is the Landing Medium Ship (LSM).

The amphibious LSM is expected to be 200 to 400 feet long, carry about 70 sailors, and have about 8,000 square feet of deck cargo space, according to the Congressional Research Service. It is also expected to be cheaper to acquire and operate than the Navy’s current amphibious ships. The Navy plans to purchase 18 to 35 of these ships to support the Marine Corps.

“It’s a land-to-land logistics connection that allows you to move heavy items that can’t be put on a plane or things that you don’t want to have to come by a big ship from point A to point B. From point B to point C. It moves to a more favorable position and then maintains that position,” Mahoney said.

The general also said the Marine Corps is interested in “autonomous low profile vessels,” or ALPVs, which he described as “very low observable” autonomous ocean-going vessels.

The general said part of the plan is also to consider how drones can contribute to logistics.

“We are also interested in large and medium autonomous drones in the areas of movement, operation and sustainment, and logistics,” he said.

Mahoney said this will be a “significant year” for testing and evaluating unmanned aircraft and ships that will help improve the Marine Corps’ logistics.

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