Installations and Logistics

"We cannot continue to rely on the processes and procedures of yesterday and expect them to meet the challenges and threats of tomorrow."

The Problem

The current logistical capabilities are under-resourced and do not meet the demands of our future force to succeed on future battlefields, and our installations are currently unable to provide the full range of essential services support, infrastructure, and trained personnel that directly link to the emerging requirements of the future force.

Our Vision

• The Marine Corps’ view of logistics is based on our common understanding of the nature of war, our role in the joint force, and our warfighting philosophy as described in Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1, Warfighting.

• This publication is a revision of the 1997 version of MCDP 4. We revised the doctrine because, “like war itself, our approach to warfighting must evolve.”

• This publication describes the role of logistics in a globally contested environment, where supply lines are stretched thin due to distance, and partners and allies have never been more important. Marines must be able to operate when logistics is contested, because increasingly persistent and global threats reinforce the need to leverage strategic- and operational-level logistics to support Marines.

(Download and read MCDP-4: Logistics)

• Logistics concept and structure do not always conform to traditional live force experimentation methods and sufficient Service-level experimentation capacity does not exist for all Force Design 2030 initiatives.

• The Service, through the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), will leverage the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) and Supporting Establishment units and activities to conduct live, virtual, and/or constructive force experimentation of FD2030-related logistics concepts and organizational structure changes to inform further planning, refinement, investments, divestments, and decisions.

• This logistics focused experimentation effort will be nested within greater MCWI, Service Level Experimentation Campaign.

• The Marine Corps’ 25 installations provide the foundation for its readiness, forward presence, and ability to project power.

• The Marine Corps’ historical presence in the Pacific means its bases and stations in this region are especially significant and face unique challenges given the Department of Defense’s focus on China as the pacing challenge.

• As we imagine the future of logistics, we anticipate our installations will be required to make greater contributions to the sustainment network in support of the future force, particularly in forward locations.

• The Marine Corps organic industrial base (MCOIB), which includes our supply and maintenance depots, requires modernization to support rapid deployment and sustainment.

Our Goal

The Marine Corps installations and logistics ecosystem will succeed on tomorrow’s battlefields by employing a logistics enterprise fully integrated with the broader objectives of Force Design 2030, capable of supporting multi-domain and distributed operations in contested environments.


How We Will Do It


Findings from FD2030 planning and wargames indicate that to achieve resilient logistics networks, we need to view and understand our logistics resources differently than we have in the past. We will need tools to help commanders visualize logistics resources in space and time across the JLEnt. This will give us the ability to provide sustainment and distribution options based on threat, inventory position, and protection requirements.


Diversifying distribution refers to creating options in the methods, nodes, and modes available to the MCILE in staging, delivery, retrograde, and recovery of assets and logistics services to deployed forces. This objective addresses the need to capitalize on both existing and emerging distribution capabilities to support geographically dispersed forces in contested environments.


Meeting sustainment requirements in contested areas will require Marines to plan for multiple methods of sustainment across each of the six functions of logistics. To provide this flexibility to forward forces, we will reimagine planning and execution for the logistics warfighting function and how it aligns to support the other warfighting functions. When feasible and appropriate, we will leverage demand reduction principles and technologies to reduce requirements and cumbersome stockpiles.


As we adapt to the demands of all-domain battlefields, advancements in technology, and the challenges of peer and near-peer competition, our installations will play an even greater role supporting our warfighting concepts than in recent past. Smart, resilient, networked installations will provide stand-in forces with enhanced capabilities to recover quickly from attack, persist in contested spaces, and sustain distributed formations across multiple axes.


There is no resource more precious or more critical to the continued success of our Corps than our Marines and civilians. Today, our senior logisticians have a wealth of combat and deployed experience that we must leverage to develop the knowledge and understanding of those who are just now entering our ranks. We have a unique opportunity to adapt their collective experience into future concepts and doctrine and will do so by incorporating past lessons and best practices into our training and education curricula.



Where can we use help from industry - and where are we already working together?

Think unmanned and uncrewed systems, as well as manned-unmanned teaming, particularly in transportation capabilities on the ground, at sea, under the sea, in the air, and in space.  The shift to autonomous systems has applicability in the public sector, as well, which is why there is such ripe opportunity for us to move forward rapidly.  For military application, unmanned and uncrewed systems provide huge opportunities for sustaining a force in the fight.  Although we must balance this with affordability and accountability.

The Marine Corps is already providing subject matter expertise over global distances with encrypted digital chats to discuss troubleshooting of weapon systems, and even conducting maintenance at echelons normally higher than the on-site mechanic is familiar with.  We are doing this with aviation and ground platforms.  This is currently occurring regularly between U.S. forces and Ukrainians who are learning to conduct maintenance on equipment sourced from the U.S.  Telemedicine for clinical services is becoming more acceptable.  Further growth in tele-surgery has resulted in specialized surgeons on one end assisting a general surgeon at the remote end, and even remote robotic surgery.  This is a very small field now, although the opportunities to expand this to the tactical edge will save lives, particularly in remote locations with limited casualty evacuation capability and availability.

3D, additive, and subtractive manufacturing reduces the time and distance for distribution of a repair part.  It increases responsiveness at the point and time of need.  Among many challenges are technical data rights and permissions, certification for tensile strength of weight bearing parts, and the impact on the manufacturing lines back at home.  Large-format, concrete 3D printing and other variations of construction 3D printing are also very applicable to support rapid deliberate military construction, as well as recovery of facilities after an attack.  The ability of a young Marine to conduct tactical level manufacturing on the front lines will save lives, particularly in a distributed, contested operating environment.

Alternative energy reduces the demand to transport liquid fuel over thousands of miles.  Each alternative energy option comes with new challenges in sustainability, safety, and form factorRegenerative energy is critical to ensure the force does not culminate during the fight or even before the fight begins.  Alternative energy is also directly related to our installations, where we are leaning forward with proofs of concept in alternative energy options to include solar and biomass steam turbines.  Partnership with local businesses and communities will enhance our base and local community energy resiliency, which is critical to mission assurance.

Leveraging data to enhance decision making to provide the right support, to the right place, at the right time.  We are looking to learn from commercial benchmarks that have shown us what is in the realm of the possible.  While not intending to advertise for specific brands, two benchmarks that are worth noting are Amazon and FedEx.

-The user interface that so many of us find to be second nature in the Amazon app to rapidly search multiple sources of supply and choose an item based on cost, delivery time, or condition, provides a model for how we want our Marines to be able to search quickly for options and make the right purchase to meet mission.  Behind that user interface is a large data pool connected to warehouses and distribution options, as well as the fiscal connections, to rapidly initiate supply responsiveness. 

-The second example is FedEx, which uses data science and machine learning to help make distribution more efficient.  FedEx uses data to reflect real time distribution across air and ground services, as well as the predictive analytics to anticipate impacts due to disruptive weather and even geopolitical shifts.  Further, these models provide options for rerouting that support centralized human decision making for risk mitigation.


Read The Report

"One broken link in a supply chain can result in an untethered force," said Lt. Gen. Edward Banta, Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics. "A web mentality assures sustainment of the force, and can absorb disruption." The new Marine Corps operating concept driving much of our future force structure, posture, and capabilities is the Concept for Stand-in Forces. These "Stand-in Forces are small, low signature, mobile, relatively simple-to-maintain-and-sustain forces designed to operate across the competition continuum within a contested area.  They are the leading edge of a maritime defense-in-depth in order to intentionally disrupt the plans of a potential or actual adversary," according to the concept.