today's maritime prepositioning forces (MPFs) can be employed. The Navy maintains three maritime prepositioning squadrons, 13 ships total (3 additional ships are being procured). Each squadron holds the unit equipment and 30 days' sustaining supplies for one Marine expeditionary force (forward) (MEF [FWD]) (see Table 3.1). The squadrons, stationed in the Mediterranean Sea and at Guam and Diego Garcia, can deploy, unload, integrate equipment to Marines who have been flown into the theater of operations, and stand up a combat-ready MAGTF in about 15 days. Once the maritime prepositioned force is landed, it is supported the same as any other MAGTF.
The evolving concept of OMFTS depicts a very different type of amphibious operation, with very different logistics requirements. Instead of amphibious warfare ships moving close to shore to disembark the assault echelon, the assault would be launched from over the horizon, 25 to 50 miles at sea. Instead of the first objectives being to establish a beachhead (a logistics base) and secure it from enemy direct and indirect fire, the first objective might be to attack enemy critical positions up to 200 miles inland. Instead of the units ashore being supported by a general off-loading of supplies onto the beach, units would be logistically supported to the extent possible from ships at sea. Instead of the MPFs being dependent on secure airfields and ports in the immediate vicinity of the objectives, Marines would integrate with their equipment at sea and move directly from the prepositioning ships to their areas of operation ashore.
Most importantly, instead of a full task force moving ashore, it is envisioned that many of the supporting functions would be based at sea, for example, command and control, administration, fire-support coordination, and logistics. Conducting much of the activity of these functions at sea not only would change how they are accomplished, but also would reduce substantially the size and support requirements of the force ashore.
For the logistician, OMFTS would entail doing largely at sea many of the tasks that traditionally have been done from a large, shore base. For example, the receipt, storage, breakout, and repackaging for distribution of bulk shipments of rations, fuel, munitions, and spare parts are normally done by logistics units ashore. These operations typically entail the use of large container-handling equipment, involve several hundred containers, and require significant real estate in order to gain access to, sort, and process the materials for distribution to ground-combat elements via truck convoys. The situation is similar for maintenance operations, medical care, and other logistics services. Under OMFTS, those functions would be done largely in the continental United States (CONUS) at sites remote from the theater of operations or at sea, likely dispersed among at least a half dozen or more ships that compose the sea base for the operation (e.g.,