Author(s)Griggs, E. L.
Contributor(s)MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
KeywordsMilitary Forces and Organizations
Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
*AIR LOGISTICS SUPPORT
THEATER LEVEL OPERATIONS
FAC(FORWARD AIR CONTROLLERS)
ASSAULT SUPPORT ASSETS
IED(IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES)
ROTARY WING CLOSE AIR SUPPORT
ORM(OPERATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT)
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AbstractMarine infantry battalions operate numerous company-, platoon-, and squad-sized firm bases dispersed throughout their AOs. The sustainment of the numerous positions greatly increases battalion and company convoys, creating more targets for IED attacks. Often convoys rely on high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) instead of the more protected seven-ton medium tactical vehicle replacement (MTVR). Aerial resupply can reduce this burden and threat. Currently aerial resupply is underutilized by the Marine Corps in al Anbar province. Underutilization is due to the misuse of assault support assets, the repeated denial of requests, and the under value of aerial resupply. A majority of the available assault support assets have been relegated to providing nightly bus service throughout western Iraq. Limited assets are misused transporting an assortment of staff members, contractors, interpreters, VIPs, and other "essential" personnel via the established ring routes. The ORM airspace threat level matrix, which was adopted in the spring of 2006, proved another obstacle for aerial resupply. The green through black airspace classification system effectively denied aerial resupply to the Marine infantry battalion that would most benefit from it. All Marine rotary wing aircraft were subject to these ORM restrictions that greatly limited their employment. A vicious cycle was created wherein aerial resupply requests were denied due to ORM, unavailable assets, higher priorities, and eventually, a lack of requests. In the end, the perceived risks outweighed the undervalued benefits. Aerial resupply enhances COIN operations by avoiding surfaces/exploiting gaps, boosting morale, reducing the negative impact on the local populace, and ultimately ensuring mission success.
EWS Contemporary Issues Paper.