Logistical implications of operational maneuver from the sea
Beddoes, Mark W.
Hughes, Wayne P., Jr.
Kemple, William G.
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The U.S. Marine Corps concept for the projection of naval power ashore is Operational Maneuver From the Sea (OMFTS). OMFTS calls for movement of Marines from ships at sea directly to objectives deep inland without requiring a pause to build up combat power on the beach. Support for ground forces is expected to come from the sea, and be delivered primarily by air. This demands that sea based logistics assets remain sufficiently close to shore to allow air assets to conduct resupply operations directly to the battlefield. The implication of this is that Navy ships may sacrifice operational and perhaps tactical mobility while sustaining the Marine operation. This thesis determines the distance from the coastline sea based Combat Service Support (CSS) assets will be able to maintain and still support operations of a given magnitude, and how tactically constrained Navy ships will be in order to support this concept of expeditionary warfare. It focuses on the time distance weight/volume relationships involved, and takes into account characteristics of the resupply assets, such as aircraft availability, capacity, method of employment, and the effects of combat attrition. Three methods of employing a Marine Expeditionary Unit are studied, ranging from a traditional force mix to the use of small infestation teams. The analysis shows that the available CSS assets will not support a traditional ground force mix at the distances envisioned, but will Support the use of small teams. To fully realize OMFTS and still allow ships to maintain the desired standoff from shore will require a shift to more lethal Marine forces with much smaller logistical demands. Until such a force is feasible, the Navy should plan on providing support to Marines from close to shore.
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