probably would be necessary. The likely investments would include the following:
- A mobile offshore base (MOB) to serve as a strategic, intermediate staging base, resupply point, and medical evacuation point. An MOB should be considered as a substitute for an overseas base, not as a tactical sea base that directly supports maneuver forces ashore.
- A sea basing logistics ship specifically designed for support of naval forces ashore. Such a ship would need capabilities for the receipt, storage, and distribution of materiel of all commodity classes (e.g., food, fuel, munitions, and so on), container handling, equipment maintenance, and casualty care. It also would need capabilities for loading, unloading, and probably transporting surface craft, and for conducting rotary-wing and possibly fixed-wing cargo aircraft operations.
- A rugged, large-capacity, high-speed landing craft. The landing craft should be designed to interface efficiently with amphibious assault ships, logistics ships, and logistics units ashore.
- A new-design logistics aircraft. Such a vehicle, perhaps a fixed-wing STOL or a crane-type, heavy-lift helicopter, would need the capability to routinely move large loads (10 to 15 tons) efficiently from the logistics ship to forces at the outer edge of planned operating distances (e.g., 200 miles inland) without refueling.
Whatever the interpretation of OMFTS, certain issues essential to future logistics capability call for new study. The most prominent of those issues is the future combat capability of the Marine Corps and the extent to which that capability is supported from the sea. Other issues include the future of battle tanks in Marine Corps force structure, the extent to which new developments in naval guns, missiles, and aircraft can reduce ground-force requirements for artillery and artillery munitions, the composition of maritime prepositioning equipment and supplies, and the design of the casualty-care and evacuation system for critically wounded and contaminated personnel. Development of a capability to model and simulate expeditionary logistics operations would greatly aid assessment of these and other key issues.
Because logistics will be so central to implementing OMFTS, the Navy and Marine Corps must clarify today's broadly stated conceptual framework. Without more specificity, different interpretations risk underestimating what is really required to conduct future expeditionary operations or rationalizing investments that may not be essential to success.