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USMC commandant points to logistics hurdles in Indo-Pacific region

Moving primarily from land-based operations in the Middle East and Central Asian regions to planning for distributed ones in the maritime-dominated Indo-Pacific theatre means the US military must rapidly shore up its logistics chain and better prepare troops to survive on their own, US Marine Corps (USMC) Commandant General David Berger said during a 1 September Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

The USMC is transforming how it will fight in the future, in part, by becoming smaller and more nimble in support of naval expeditionary warfare operations, while the other services also move forward with their respective initiatives. While service leaders often tout new equipment and weapons as a vital part of this effort, an array of logistical challenges – from sourcing weapons parts to how troops obtain water while in the field – is of vital importance.

“I believe logistics, as a warfighting function, is the pacing function; not one out but it's actually the [pacing one],” Gen Berger told the audience. “We can have the best force, postured perfectly, with this magnificent (Joint All-Domain Command and Control) JADC2 on top of it. If they're able to contest [us], and really choke us off logistically, they'll take us to our knees. We can't let that happen.”

The “contested logistics” challenges range from China wreaking havoc on the US aircraft supply chain to marines having problems finding food and water on the ground because the service does not have the time to “set the theatre”, the four-star general furthered.

“We need the organic mobility to move the force. We need the distribution means that we don't have right now to move supplies and sustainment laterally inside the weapons engagement zone [and] assume they're going to contest us,” Gen Berger said.

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