ALBANY, Ga. --
Although the United States has enjoyed an asymmetrical logistical advantage since the end of World War II, emerging needs associated with the sustainment of fuel requirements in future battlefields have presented challenges for military leadership and the warfighter alike.
Marine Corps Systems Command’s Fuel and Water Team recently initiated efforts to develop the Expeditionary Fuel Dispensing System, which provides increased battlefield flexibility to Marines. Also known as EFDS, the new program of record reconfigures capabilities existent in legacy fuel systems, such as the Amphibious Assault Fuel System – AAFS -- and the Tactical Airfield Fuel Dispensing System – TAFDS -- into smaller, more agile expedient capabilities.
“EFDS allows Marine Corps Systems Command to replace legacy systems,” explained EFDS Lead Logistician Linnis Hobbs. “It increases expeditionary capabilities by allowing the Bulk Fuel Marines to choose between a small, medium or large containerized system.”
Although the EFDS can still handle large amounts of fuel, the system enables commanders to select tailored bulk fuel capabilities instead of having to employ large, cumbersome legacy fuel systems while executing missions in distributed operational environments.
“We're looking at a much smaller footprint. EFDS allows us to take a 1.1-million-gallon fuel farm and break it down into much smaller pieces,” said EFDS Project Officer Master Sgt. Vidal Rojas Giron. “It really makes things much more manageable.”
As Russian logistical failures during the earliest days of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine have demonstrated, the decentralization of fuel systems – and the elimination of “liquid mountains” – is a necessary capability in a world where rival powers have access to precisions weapons systems.
"We're looking at a much smaller footprint. EFDS allows us to take a 1.1-million-gallon fuel farm and break it down into much smaller pieces,” Master Sgt. Vidal Rojas Giron, EFDS Project Officer
"Unlike the logistical buildup seen in past conflicts, our competitors -- as named in the recently released National Security Strategy -- can identify our ‘liquid mountains’ with their ISR assets and range us with their weapon system capabilities. Understanding that fuel is the pacing commodity, EFDS enables the fleet commander to understand the mission they have been assigned and then select their equipment sets to fit that specific scenario while operating and sustaining inside the enemy’s Weapons Engagement Zone,” explained Maj. Craig Warner, project team leader of the Fuel and Water Team.
To expedite the fuel systems modernization efforts, MARCORSYSCOM’s Program Manager Engineer Systems recently teamed up with II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Logistics Command and Marine Force Storage Command to conduct an inventory of all AAFS and TAFDS bulk fuel assets located in storage at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia.
Between Aug. 22 and Oct. 22, 2022, Marines from II MEF came together to inventory and inspect legacy fuel systems to determine if the equipment is viable to fill Fleet needs and improve readiness, while simultaneously informing the acquisition strategy development for the EFDS – demonstrating the power that exists when various Marine Corps commands collaborate and function together to provide key support for the Fleet Marine Force.
“Since there was excess equipment in storage at Albany, the MARCORSYSCOM Program Office briefed LOGCOM and Marine Corps Storage Command about the need to transfer equipment for the upcoming EFDS efforts,” explained Hobbs. “We knew that this effort couldn’t be done alone and required a large number of resources. A lot of the manpower was provided by LOGCOM -- civilians and uniformed personnel -- and II MEF Marines from 8th ESB, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, and MWSS-272.”
Photo by Cpl. Ryan Schmid
Pfc. Khalil Wakeem a bulk fuel specialist with 6th Engineer Support Battalion Company B, 4th Marine Logistics Group, rolls up a hose at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Mar. 12, 2022. 6th ESB focuses on innovating and experimenting on Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations. This training covers an innovative, new, and unique expeditionary fueling dispensing system to increase the unit's effectiveness and mission readiness. Marines from 6th ESB have proven their ingenuity by creating a smaller and more agile fueling capability from a much larger legacy fueling system. Their innovative efforts consist of swiftly staging low profile fueling points in order to allow forces the flexibility to flow quickly in and out of enemy engagement zones.
Although running inventory and clearing warehouses might not sound like a newsworthy feat, Warner believes the efforts will provide immediate results – and increase the lethality of warfighters on the ground today.
“These efforts will bear immediate fruit and I couldn’t be more grateful to our partners across the Corps. Thanks to the collaboration with LOGCOM and II MEF, we now have a much better understanding of our inventory. We’ll be able to immediately send equipment to the Fleet, thus improving their material readiness, and we now have better data to support our acquisitions and lifestyle cost estimate development,” Hobbs noted.
“Everybody’s been giving their best because what we’re doing for EFDS won’t just benefit the Corps today, but for generations to come. I really think we’re part of something bigger than ourselves and through Force Design 2030, we’re doing our part to help shape the battlefields of the future,” said Rojas Giron.
But Warner says there’s still more work to be done and MCSC will partner with I MEF Marines to conduct a similar effort at MCLB Barstow in January 2023.
“We’re taking the lessons learned during the MCLB Albany effort and applying them at MLCB Barstow. I look forward to working with I MEF Marines to help continue this modernization effort, fully recognizing that it will ultimately increase the Corps’ readiness and lethality,” he noted.