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Research Questions

  1. What constitute the elements of a capacity assessment framework?
  2. Are several of a given Logistics Unit of Employment (LUE) typically in demand all at once, or is the demand spread out over the course of the operation?
  3. What additional capacity should be accounted for in order for the Marine Expeditionary Unit Combat Logistic Battalion to sustain itself?
  4. How many missions can be supported under the current structure?
  5. What other types of personnel or equipment are close substitutes for the ones listed in the LUE, if the preferred capabilities are not available?

The Marine Corps' Marine Logistics Groups (MLGs) currently do not have a standardized method for determining or communicating logistics capacity. Although Marine logisticians task-organize personnel and equipment to the demands of the mission, this lack of standardized logistics capacity assessment can lead to uncertainty at the operational and tactical level. It is difficult to convey the logistics capacity that may or may not be within a unit. It also complicates readiness and force management determinations at higher levels within the organization.

This report supports Marine Corps efforts to better determine logistics capacity by developing a capacity assessment framework for logistics. Basic building blocks for personnel and major equipment across the different functional areas of Marine Corps logistics, called Logistics Units of Employment (LUEs), were developed. Analysis began with the assessment of mission-essential tasks for the MLG and construction of LUEs for these tasks.

The LUEs offer a potential way to standardize logistics capacity measures across different logistics organizations. Comparing the LUEs that different units should be able to support provides a first-order approximation of logistics capacities across organizational structures.

These LUEs constitute the basic elements of a logistics capacity framework. This framework can be used to estimate the logistics capacity of a unit by translating the personnel and major equipment for a logistics unit into a number of LUEs. This LUE framework can also be used as a starting point for logistics support to multiple missions.

Key Findings


  • The Logistics Units of Employment (LUEs) represent the basic building blocks of logistics capacity for the Marine Corps — the smallest set of personnel and equipment needed to accomplish essential tasks.
  • The LUEs can be applied across the functional areas of Marine Corps logistics, and can be used as a basic, extendable framework to quantify logistics capacity across the Marine Logistics Group.
  • Because a given logistic unit's table of equipment and table of organization can be expressed as LUEs, the LUEs provide a means to gauge and compare the capacity of different units.


  • The hierarchy of the framework can be applied for different purposes and at different organizational levels.
  • It is also possible to identify the LUEs associated with different missions as an extension of the basic LUE framework.
  • Identifying the LUEs needed for a mission with the LUEs available from within an organization provides information on how many missions of what type the organization might support.


Expand the Logistics Unit of Employment (LUE)

The current version of the LUE does not take grade or training requirements into consideration when accounting for personnel. They also have limited information about substitutes for the equipment listed. Adding these components would greatly improve their assessment capability.

Subject-matter expert LUE input

A broader sampling of subject-matter experts and examining the actual employment of personnel and equipment are needed.

Expand the application of the LUE framework

Gathering information on the number of LUEs needed to support the Marine Expeditionary Force outside of deployments would lead to better understanding of residual capacity.

Expand the mission set

Identify the approximate number of LUEs needed for each Combat Logistics Battalion mission. This would provide valuable information in assessing readiness and force management and would better assess the number of missions a Marine Logistics Group might potentially support.

Quantify capacity

Develop a better method to quantify capacity in areas that are harder to measure, such as the supply and maintenance functional areas.

Logistics command and control (C2)

Logistics C2 was not addressed in this study. Potential limitations stemming from C2 issues are not currently accounted for in the LUEs, but would be an important issue to examine in greater detail.


Account for the logistics support that logistics units require to sustain themselves, even as they provide support to other Marine units and entities outside the Marine Corps. Because this is not currently captured, the true logistics capacity required for Marine Corps might be systematically underestimated.

This research was sponsored by OAD and was conducted jointly within the International Security and Defense Policy Center and the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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