Today’s MAGTF is equipped with precision munitions, world-class communications and state-of- the-art weapon systems, but these capabilities do not reduce our requirement to move large amounts of fuel, water and ammunition throughout the battlespace. For these reasons, we believe we are in an era of hybrid logistics, where we must continue to meet recurring demand requirements while we simultaneously work to evolve our capabilities to enhance the endurance, reach and overall effectiveness of the 21st century MAGTF. We will increase our logistics readiness and responsiveness by looking at old processes and procedures in new ways. Examples are moving to a conditions-based maintenance construct and developing more efficient and effective ways to package and move Marines and their sustainment in the battlespace.
Sgt. Adrian Willis, a computer and telephone technician with Combat Logistic Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, explains the functions of a 3-D printer aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1) while underway in the Pacific Ocean, March 22, 2018. Marines with CLB-31 are now capable of ‘additive manufacturing,’ also known as 3-D printing, which is the technique of replicating digital 3-D models as tangible objects. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit partners with the Navy’s Amphibious Squadron 11 to form the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, a cohesive blue-green team capable of accomplishing a variety of missions across the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Stormy Mendez/Released)
As we look to the future, we are focusing on technology that will increase capability in lift and distribution, supply and maintenance, and battlefield medical care. With several game-changing technologies on the horizon, our hybrid logistics vision will serve as the “lens” to guide our primary innovation lines of effort. Hybrid logistics will:
- Embrace the promise of new technologies while enhancing conventional capabilities, optimizing the blend of “old and new” logistics.
- Realize the full-fielding potential of Global Combat Support System-Marine Corps through enhanced Internet access and user friendly functionality.
- Utilize state-of-the-art logistics C2 and IT capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence.
- Create a ready data environment in which data is fungible, interactive, and actionable.
- Develop data-driven predictive capabilities to enable “sense and respond” logistics, capable of operating in a communications and data-degraded environment.
- Through the use of technology (such as 3D printing, unmanned platforms, etc.), flatten the supply chain to reduce the logistics footprint ashore and increase equipment readiness.
- Embrace “modular logistical capabilities” to streamline lift and distribution.
- Lighten the load on the individual Marine through the use of polymer ammunition, mobile solar power, and lighter body armor.
In this hybrid logistics era, we will still have to move large quantities of fuel, water and ammunition throughout the battlespace. However, unmanned platforms, 3D printing and predictive supply/ maintenance have the potential to optimize tactical distribution, modernize the supply chain and increase equipment readiness. Marine Corps logisticians will have to support MAGTFs operating across the range of military operations in all five domains of warfare. To do this, we are proposing an evolutionary shift in how Marines provide support to the MAGTF.
We are maturing the hybrid logistics concept to ensure we are ready to fight and win on the 21st century battlefield. We are thoroughly analyzing and assessing our logistical capability through the prism of the future threat environment. These efforts will ensure that we properly prioritize and resource logistics initiatives to support the 21st century Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF).
The ultimate impact of Hybrid Logistics is the integration of new technologies with enhanced/ modernized conventional capabilities; a blend of “old and new” to ensure uninterrupted support. This includes:
Incorporating unmanned platforms, 3D printing and predictive supply/maintenance to optimize tactical distribution, modernize the supply chain and increase equipment readiness.
- The full fielding of Global Combat Support System-Marine Corps.
- Utilizing state-of-the-art logistics C2/IT, enabled by artificial intelligence that is data driven and predictive; the ability to “sense and respond” while still operating in an analog C2 environment.
- Achieving unity of effort in our “whole-sale-level” and “retail-level” capabilities to reimagine how we aggregate our forces at sea and ashore; advancing arrival and assembly operations at sea to reduce the logistics footprint ashore.
- Task organizing logistics teams that are tailored to rapidly deploy, support, and sustain a MAGTF in austere environments.
- Embracing “modular logistical capabilities” to streamline lift and distribution.
- Providing capabilities that are lighter and more mobile; realizing the tenet of “each Marine a producer” rather than a consumer.
- Providing MAGTF logisticians who are comfortable with uncertainty and capable of handling adversity; innovative, flexible, and adaptable with the ability to question conventional wisdom without ignoring the realities of the modern battlefield.