DoD officials observe logistical innovation throughout II MEF

By Sgt. Lucas Hopkins

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Top officials from the Department of Defense observed demonstrations of new technological equipment Aug. 17. 

Alan Estevez, Principal Deputy under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Kristin French, Principal Deputy under Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Material readiness, and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Dana, Deputy Commandant of Installations and Logistics, visited the USS Wright (T-AVB-3) and several units within 2nd Marine Logistics Group, gathering information and gaining an understanding of recent breakthroughs in logistical innovation.

“We are focused on providing Marines the finest support possible in garrison and in combat. To achieve that, we are very focused on innovation,” said Dana.

The first demonstration aboard Camp Lejeune was given by Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 25, displaying the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle. 

“The JTARV is one of those pieces of technology we’re hoping to leverage to support the warfighter, specifically as it relates to logistics resupply missions,” said 1st Lt. James R. R. Van Eerden, the officer in charge of the JTARV project. “The idea was for them to see that we as a Marine Corps can leverage technology as a force multiplier.”

During Operation Enduring Freedom, drone technology was used specifically for reconnaissance purposes. Now, the Marine Corps is collaborating with the U.S. Army to implement the JTARV for logistical purposes, while also considering the possibilities of incorporating it in other combat-related scenarios.

“The really unique selling point for the JTARV is that it could realistically be integrated across the [Marine Air-Ground Task Force],” said Van Eerden, also saying that with certain add-ons and modifications, the drone can be used to directly support air and ground forces.

The group then visited 2nd Maintenance Battalion, getting a first-hand look at current predictive maintenance, 3D printing and additive manufacturing capabilities. These processes can recreate small parts for vehicles and other equipment, which allows for faster reparations in garrison and on the battlefield.

“Technology is evolving at a dynamic pace, and we are doing our best to capitalize on the efficiencies and effectiveness that new technology can provide,” said Dana.

Complementing the logistical displays was the caliber of performance demonstrated by junior Marines using the JTARV and 3D printing equipment.

“Individuals who have limited training and experience in the Marine Corps could use this technology that is a force multiplier in pretty simple ways,” said Van Eerden.

“Their grasp of innovation and their knowledge of their jobs was outstanding by every measure,” said Dana. “These Marines are focused on innovation and finding better ways of doing things [which] is exactly what we need to move forward with 21st century Marine Corps logistics.”

Whether training for future contingencies or forward deployed in combat, Marines will continue developing new and more advanced technological capabilities to ensure success.

“Fortunately, there are many exciting opportunities available today to improve logistics support across the Marine Corps and we are aggressively implementing,” said Dana. “The visit reinforced our efforts and future innovation projects throughout the Marine Corps.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the II Marine Expeditionary Force website.