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Marine Corps Outlines Ground Equipment Reset Strategy

The United States Marine Corps has released a draft of its Ground Equipment Reset Strategy for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) [See DMN: U.S. Army “Responsible Reset Task Force,” posted Jan. 26, 2011].

The release of the Marine Corps OEF reset strategy accompanies the December 2011 release of the “Ground Equipment Reset Playbook” and comes approximately 18 months after the mid-June 2009 release of the Marine Corps’ earlier Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Ground Equipment Reset Plan.

In his preface to the earlier OIF reset plan, then-Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway, observed, “In Iraq, we are moving into the most long awaited phase of operations – the reset of our equipment and redeployment of the force.

“For the last five-plus years have placed an unprecedented demand on our ground mobility assets and equipment sets,” he wrote. “The accelerated wear and tear from the harsh operating environment has far exceeded normal usage rates during peacetime. Many items have been destroyed or damaged beyond salvage. Reset will include all actions required to repair, replace, or modernize the equipment and weapons systems. As our numbers grow in Afghanistan, this effort is critical to the sustainment of our Corps.”

The new OEF reset strategy draft, formally dated Jan. 1, 2012, opens with a message from Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos, in which he acknowledges that, “Sustained combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade have placed an unprecedented demand on our ground equipment. The accelerated degradation to the service life of our ground equipment, resulting from these harsh environments, has far exceeded normal peacetime usage rates. Many items have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair. We must align our force structure requirements, acquisition plans and maintenance strategies to ensure our reset program supports the rapid reconstitution of our force. We also must conduct this reset in stride because our Corps continues to be forward deployed and forward engaged in response to unforeseen threats as well as the many ongoing Combatant Commander requirements for amphibious forces.”

“This OEF Ground Equipment Reset Strategy charts the way forward,” Amos adds. “It will guide the planning and execution of logistics tasks needed to restore our combat capability. I require the personal commitment of every Marine to ensure our equipment is repaired and returned quickly to the war fighter.”

The strategy itself stresses that, as the Marine Corps draws down from the current campaign, “[I]t is vital that ground equipment returning from OEF is fully reset in order to posture the Marine Corps for the nation’s next crisis.”

“A fully reconstituted Marine Corps will be trained, equipped, and postured to enable Combatant Commanders to rapidly employ Marine forces in the post-OEF security environment,” it adds. “While the focus of this document is on reset of ground equipment returning from OEF, it is important to understand how the reset strategy fits into ongoing operations and the larger force reconstitution effort. The Marine Corps does not anticipate a post-OEF “operational pause” whereby the service will have the luxury of focusing exclusively on reset and reconstitution. The Marine Corps must remain ready to respond to unforeseen crises, reconstitute III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), continue to source Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU), and meet the ever-increasing demand for theater security cooperation. This means equipment reset will occur in stride with current operations and the larger reconstitution effort to ensure operating forces and strategic programs are fully equipped with mission capable equipment.”

Identified factors guiding the planning and execution of OEF ground equipment include:

  • Ensuring compliance with the Commandant’s Planning Guidance;
  • Quickly reestablishing presence in the Pacific and achieve improved readiness across the force;
  • Ensuring ground equipment reset is integrated with equipment modernization objectives, long-term support costs and strategic investment plans;
  • Ensuring ground equipment reset spending is applied as authorized, documented and assessed against available Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds, and;
  • Ensuring the velocity of reset efforts is balanced against the need for depot level overhauls, refresh actions or full replacement of end items in order to protect the long-term health and readiness of critical ground equipment.

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...