Marine Integrated Logistics Groups

Marine Corps logistics organization improved over this past decade as the centralized FSSGs with eight specialized battalions were reformed into Marine Logistics Groups (MLG)s with task organized Combat Logistics Battalions (CLBs). Nevertheless, a lot of headquarters overhead remains, the reserve force is not integrated, no units are earmarked for the two MPF sets, and excess equipment is costly. The Marines can shed one-third of its logistics equipment and eliminate 4000 positions by addressing these issues:

1. Flatten the Command Structure - Organize all Pacific/western USA logistics units (active and reserve) under the 1st MLG and all Atlantic/eastern USA logistics units under the 2nd MLG. The means the smaller 3rd MLG HQ on Okinawa disappears as well as the reserves tiny 4th MLG HQ in New Orleans. This flatter and leaner organization may not be applauded by career minded logistics officers, especially in the reserves. However, the 1st and 2nd MLG HQs (as two-star commands) could have dozens of IMA positions for reserve officers to reflect an integrated force.

2. Integrate the Reserve Force - Keeping all reserve units under the 4th MLG in distant New Orleans is ineffective. This is why the 4th MLG Forward HQ (East) was formed at Camp Lejeune and a Forward HQ (West) counterpart at Camp Pendleton. The Corps should downsize the 4th Logistics Group HQ at New Orleans to a Regiment HQ that commands logistics units in the central USA, while the East and West HQs become Regiment HQs. 

3. Reduce Engineer Support - Given the engineer support available from each Marine Division Combat Engineer Battalion, support from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy CBs, and private contractors, there is no need for three large Engineer Support battalions. The smaller 9th Engineers on Okinawa should be disbanded, while units from the 6th ESB in the USMCR are attached to the two active ESBs or reserve CLBs. 

4. Assign two Combat Logistics Regiments (CLRs) for the two MPF Sets - Marine rapid-deployment combat forces are organized into seven MEUs backed by two MEBs supported by two MPF sets. While the MEUs are supported by CLBs, no CLRs are assigned the two MPF sets. Two CLRs should be aligned with the two MPF sets and specifically train for that mission.

5. Shed Excess Equipment - The Corps can eliminate much of its logistics equipment as 9th Engineers deactivate and excess equipment on Okinawa is removed. The cold-war equipment stored in Norway is no longer needed. This allows the elimination of hundreds of full-time maintenance personnel at logistics depots. 

The USMCR would have three CLRs, but only the regiment in the central USA would be equipped. The east and west coast regiments would have just a few items of equipment for training at reserve drill sites. Upon mobilization, these units would fall upon equipment left behind by active-duty CLRs as they fly away to link up with MPF gear. This sheds equipment and eliminates two wartime headaches: 1. Who cares for equipment left behind as active units rapidly deploy to marry up with MPF gear? 2. Who cares for USMCR equipment scattered around the USA that is often left behind? Here is this improved Marine Corps logistics structure:

1st Marine Logistics Group (Camp Smith HI)

Regiment - Camp Hansen Okinawa (MEU-CLB, facility CLC at Camp Courtney)

Regiment - Kaneohe Bay Hawaii (or 29 Palms CA) (MPS-3)

Regiment - Camp Pendleton (3 MEU-CLBs)

Regiment - H&S Co. Camp Pendleton, facility CLCs, three unequipped USMCR CLBs in the western USA)

1st Dental Battalion - (dental units at Okinawa, Hawaii, California bases, one USNR)

7th Engineer Support Battalion - Camp Pendleton (with USMCR attachments)

2nd Marine Logistics Group (Norfolk VA)

Regiment - Camp Lejeune (3 MEU-CLBs)

Regiment - Camp Lejeune (MPS-2)

Regiment - H&S Co. Camp Lejeune, facility CLCs, three unequipped USMCR CLBs in the eastern USA.

Regiment - USMCR H&S Co. New Orleans (three USMCR CLBs in the central USA)

2nd Dental Battalion - Camp Lejeune (dental units at Carolina bases, two USNR)

8th Engineer Support Battalion - Camp Lejeune (with USMCR attachments)


This new organization favors the Pacific with three active CLRs, compared to two on the East Coast. While the fully-equipped reserve CLR headquartered at New Orleans is assigned to the 2nd MLG, it is the Corps' strategic reserve that can move to either coast. The smaller Marine Corps presence on Okinawa is a political and strategic eventuality explained in: The Okinawa Solution.

The MPF program would increase readiness. The two assigned CLRs would rotate dozens of personnel to live aboard these ships (which have 400 extra berthing spaces per squadron) for a few weeks, thus enhancing familiarity, readiness, security, and save money if they replace some contract personnel. In addition, rapidly deploying active duty logistics units are lucky to be at 90% manning, and leave some 20% "non-deployable" Marines behind. As they prepare to fly forward and their mirror USMCR units arrive (unencumbered by equipment transport issues back home) to fall-in on their equipment, these reservists provide a manpower pool that can be immediately dispatched overseas to fill shortfalls.

A Leaner Marine Corps Logistics Organization

This plan sheds some 4000 active duty positions, mostly from unneeded headquarters and units with no clear role. It also eliminates tons of excess gear stored in Norway and Okinawa and at dozens of reserve drill sites in the USA, which require a thousand personnel to maintain. Finally, active and reserve logistics units are integrated and assigned specific wartime missions.

                                             Carlton Meyer