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Chapter 6


I don't know what the hell this `logistics' is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it!
 Fleet Admiral E.J. King
(to a staff officer in 1942)


Field Marshal Rommel once remarked that battles are won or lost on the back of logistics before the first rounds are fired. Admiral King's statement and Field Marshal Rommel's belief place a significance on logistics that underscores the relevance of logistic matters in doctrinal discussions. JP 1 emphasizes logistics by stating "Logistics sets the campaign's operational limits. The lead time needed to arrange logistics support and resolve logistics concerns requires continuous integration of logistic considerations into the operational planning process."

Engineer-force sustainment maintains and multiplies combat power. Engineer commanders must understand the CSS system and know where to obtain logistic support. Many engineer needs are unique, one-of-a-kind requirements that stress the logistics system, such as massive requirements for Class IV barrier and construction materials.

Adequate Class IV supplies are central to the ability of engineer units to construct and maintain facilities in support of the ASCC's operations and the supporting sustainment base. For this reason, the senior Army engineer HQ (typically an ENCOM) plays a key role in establishing distribution protocols, stockage levels, and construction-material allocation in theater. The joint-force commanders, through the TCEM/RCEM cells, often control critical Class IV supplies across the theater. The ENCOM may send a liaison to support the packaging of critical engineer Class IV supplies.


In the TO, construction materials may be difficult to obtain. Required construction materials might be—

  • Supplied by the CONUS through the supply system.
  • Procured from neighboring countries within the region of operations.
  • Obtained from local suppliers.
  • Extracted from local natural sources.
  • Produced by engineer units.

Ideally, construction materials should be procured from sources close to the construction site; however, this is often not possible. Because of the time and cost involved in moving construction materials, facility designs are often adapted to make maximum use of locally available materials.

Experienced planners will not neglect horizontal construction materials. Vertical materials, such as plywood and dimensional lumber, are Class IV items. Theater logisticians are very familiar with these items and, therefore, rarely overlook them. These materials are universal commodities that are used by logisticians for overhead protection, flooring in high traffic areas, and shelving. However, equally important to the engineer are the materials that are instrumental in the success of horizontal (earthwork) construction.

Aggregate (crushed rock or river run and sand) will be locally purchased or provided by engineer units. Other items, such as geotextiles or sand grid that is used to bolster poor soil conditions and improve trafficability, will have to be procured and shipped from CONUS. Soil stabilization and dust abatement require admixtures to the soil, such as lime, portland cement, asphalt emulsions, or resins. These products are bulky and may or may not be available within the region of current operations. Poor drainage can hinder operations. Therefore, ample supplies of culvert materials are a frequent concern of engineers.

Because of the multiple applications of many Class IV items, it is important that engineers remain involved in distribution decisions. This is particularly true regarding critical materials to ensure that they are not squandered on less critical missions. Engineers are not equipped to run Class IV yards, nor do they have the transportation assets to distribute Class IV supplies. However, the absence of engineer insight and critical assets management could lead to devastating theater shortages and mission impairment. Priority for transportation support is essential to supply operations as Class IV items and engineer equipment are large and bulky and may require convoy credits or special haul assets.


One of the primary responsibilities of the senior Army engineer is to forecast the types and the quantities of engineer materials required for the theater. Chapter 5 described the CESP, which is generally used to establish the initial requirements during preconflict planning. Planning during the conflict requires good intelligence as to the damage caused by enemy action and a good forecasting of the additional facilities that are needed. The TCMS can be used as a guide in determining material requirements for facilities that are needed. In many cases, existing facilities can be modified to meet military requirements, thus conserving Class IV materials and expediting construction completion.

For horizontal construction and nonstandard projects, material requirements must be estimated manually because TCMS provides standard Army designs. The senior Army engineer must also aid the logisticians in determining the adequacy and the most expeditious source of materials, either from local sources, regional sources, or CONUS projection base. Materials from within the AOR may be from local manufacturers, commercial stockpiles, or HN government assets. Materials not locally available must either be procured out of theater (directly or through a service contract such as LOGCAP) or produced in theater by engineer units. Materials that fall in the latter category include aggregate, concrete, construction water, asphalt, and lumber. A local procurement system must be established to expedite the procurement of local materials. The procurement of local materials may be restricted or centrally controlled in some theaters to avoid—

  • Inflating the cost of construction materials in the HN.
  • Creating a bidding war between all participants vying for materials or services within a specific area.
  • Depleting specific resources.
  • Overspending of operational funds.


When designing projects for the TO, designers consider—

  • Availability of construction materials.
  • Local materials and properties and their suitability.
  • Construction practices to accommodate HN maintenance and repair after US forces depart.
  • HN environmental requirements.

During a recent study by the construction-engineering research laboratories to update Class IV supply planning factors, the findings indicated that the requirement for local material, especially sand and gravel, could be substantial. Even in the most developed countries, problems exist in finding and hauling locally procured construction materials. Engineer planners develop realistic estimates of the available quantities of local materials as early as possible and assess the feasibility of the plans they have developed.

Many designs may not be practical because of logistics considerations. For example, although the TCMS's designs are adjusted for various climates (desert, tropic, and arctic), they may be difficult to construct because of the unavailability of required construction materials in the region. Suitable materials could be brought from the CONUS; however, the level or the length of the US commitment may not support this action.

Military designers must be knowledgeable of local construction standards and materials commonly used in the particular region. Designs must include the use of local materials or provide flexibility within the design for use of substitute materials. The construction standard for the TO will likely be one of the following:

  • Initial standard (up to 6 months expected use).
  • Temporary standard (up to 24 months expected use).

Since the design life is short, only essential utilities, such as heating and cooling, will be provided. This will also reduce engineer material requirements. A heavy reliance on occupying existing facilities, either provided by the HN or leased, also minimizes construction-material requirements. There are design requirements associated with using existing facilities because modifications to structures are probable to meet the needs of the US-force mission. As a contingency is drawn out and soldiers are deployed for greater lengths of time, the engineer should expect to upgrade facilities to enhance the QOL as the mission, time, and materials allow.


In the material estimation process, 10 percent is usually added to the estimated quantity as an overage factor. The overage in the TCMS's bills of materials (BOMs) provides for material loss, damage, and waste and minor field modifications. Although this overage may seem minor, the combined effect of material overage will have a significant impact on the supply system. On the other hand, engineers should not succumb to pressures to eliminate this overage factor when ordering materials under the assumption that waste material can be eliminated through maximizing efficiency. Refuse material is unavoidable. However, all who are involved with actual construction can limit the construction-material waste by—

  • Ordering and using optimum lengths.
  • Providing clear designs (understandable to the construction unit).
  • Inspecting the vendor's stocks to ensure satisfactory quality.
  • Providing for the proper storage, security, and handling of construction materials.
  • Providing proper worker training to limit waste.
  • Reusing materials.
  • Constructing the facility right the first time.

Another construction consideration more fundamental than ensuring adequate quantities are ordered is securing transportation to haul materials to the construction site. For some materials, transportation is available within engineer resources. Aggregate, for example, can be hauled by engineer dump-truck companies. Small quantities of dimensional lumber and plywood for small jobs can be hauled using organic assets within the combat heavy battalions. Larger quantities of Class IV supplies require coordination with the theater-level Movement Control Center (MCC) and the TAACOM to—

  • Schedule convoys on MSRs.
  • Allocate lift assets to move the material from the stockage points to the area of construction.
  • Coordinate material drop-off requirements at engineer supply points (ESPs).

Beyond lumber and aggregate, other engineer items of bulk requiring coordinated lift assets include Inland Pipeline Distribution Systems (IPDSs), mines, and other special engineer Class IV barrier and Class V materials.


Unlike other supply classes, Class IV construction materials and Class II topographic items are not provided based on documented consumption rates; there are no anticipated, preprogrammed surge rates for these items. With technological advances in material management, logistics planners can reduce the time required to get mission material to engineers. The management practices, however, cannot change the physical constants in execution—engineer-mission materials are normally bulky, heavy, and require dedicated transportation. Pre-positioning Class IV stocks reduces lift requirements during the initial stages of force projection.

Construction material is expensive and susceptible to weather damage; therefore, only limited quantities are on hand in the areas of major war plans. For this reason, the ASCC validates needs and initiates requisitions in advance of deployment or operations. Initial material forecasts are submitted by the senior Army engineer staff using data from the TCMS and the JEPES and the base-development plans in the theater-specific, mission-oriented CESP.

Successful execution of the theater's construction program depends on sufficient materials, logistics units to process the materials, and construction capability. Typically, during the early stages of a conflict, war-damage repair and construction of mission-essential facilities will dominate the engineer's construction activities. The RSO&I mission places heavy demands on the engineer as well as logisticians to receive and launch the combatant forces into forward operating areas. As the theater matures, more substantial facilities will be required and more construction forces will be available. The senior Army engineer forecasts adequate construction materials that are flexible enough to meet the varied construction requirements throughout all operation phases.

Special logistics-support considerations for topographic forces are equally important. Equipment such as the Multispectral Imagery Processor (MISP) System and the Combat Terrain Information System require specialized critical low-density supplies. For example, during the Dayton Peace Accord negotiations, November 1995, the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) (currently known as NIMA) distributed some 30,000 paper copies of maps covering the revised inter entity boundary (IEB) on Bosnia-Herzegovina. As troops deployed to monitor the authoritative cease-fire line (the IEB and their respective buffer zones), thousands more copies of the 1:50,000 scale tactical line maps were needed. Engineer planners anticipated for demand surges on topographic products before operations and recognized that topographic forces were not equipped to run map warehouses, nor did they have the transportation assets to distribute topographic products.


An effective maintenance program ensures that engineer units are capable of providing continuous, responsive support to combatant forces and the sustainment base. An effective supply system for repair parts and lubricants is also necessary. Engineer units consider the risks involved in mobility versus ample coverage for prescribed load list (PLL) repair parts. Logisticians anticipate and provide forward stockage of engineer-specific maintenance-supply support requirements. The Material Management Center (MMC) coordinates with tailored engineer forces in stockage selection and execution to maintain the dominant tempo of operations.

Military engineer units have the potential to use foreign commercial construction equipment. The source of this equipment is varied; for example, equipment may be—

  • Provided by the HN.
  • Leased from commercial venders.
  • Obtained through a grant or loan.
  • Bought by benefactor countries supporting the contingency operation.
  • Purchased or leased through the LOGCAP.

Such was the case for the 34th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Heavy) during the Gulf War. They deployed without their organic construction equipment and used the commercial equipment that the Government of Japan (GOJ) provided. Other battalions augmented their construction capabilities using additional leased equipment. These alternatives to increase construction capabilities pose challenges in maintenance to be considered, such as the—

  • Lack of manuals and English labels on controls and switches.
  • Lack of on-vehicle equipment (OVE), particularly safety equipment.
  • Lack of service records or even a service schedule.
  • Repair parts not being compatible or available within the Army's maintenance system.

The lack of manuals tends to make preventative maintenance haphazard. Nonstandard repair parts require mechanics to remove the part, take it to a vender to matchup with a suitable replacement, and then establish a PLL from scratch with no maintenance history. These challenges are not insurmountable; however, prior knowledge of the equipment's condition and preventative maintenance status helps the commander establish a reputable maintenance program when he assumes responsibility for foreign commercial construction equipment.


The ENCOM and its operational units assist in the management of critical Class IV and engineer Class V supplies, primarily in the establishment of theater policy or in an advisory capacity to the ASCC's logistics planner or the TAACOM. For other classes of supply and services, engineer units are consumers within the theater.

Engineer units obtain personnel service support (PSS), including finance services, from EAC PSS assets. Engineers need finance support to pay contractors and other local providers. The TAACOM's finance-support center provides finance support. The nearest medical facility provides medical support, to include medical supplies. The TAACOM's explosive-ordnance-disposal (EOD) detachments provide EOD support.

The ASG's supply and services battalion provides Class I supplies (rations). Rations are obtained based on the unit's strength reports that the battalion Adjutant (US Army) S1 prepares. When working on an air base, engineer units obtain Class I support from the Air Force.

The property book officer at the battalion or in the separate companies requisitions Class II supplies from the ASG's supply company. Requisitions for regulated or command-controlled items are processed through the command channels. Engineer units request Class VII items through the material readiness officer at the MMC.

The ASG's supply and services battalion provides Class III supplies (POL). This is true for both bulk and packaged products. Requisitions from the property book officer are required to obtain the needed supplies. When working on an air base, engineer units obtain Class III support from the Air Force.

Class V supplies (ammunition) are obtained from the nearest ammunition supply point that the TAACOM's ammunition battalion operates. Requisitions must be processed by the property book officer. The TAACOM requires input on recommended stockage levels for engineer-specific Class V supplies, such as mines and demolition items, based on plans and anticipated usage rates.

Transportation and material-transfer support are important when planning for Class IV and engineer Class V material. Supplies are often shipped by class. Transportation priorities for Class V supplies will often be higher than those for Class IV supplies. Synchronizing mission Class IV and engineer Class V transportation and material-transfer support is desirable to use mission loads effectively.

All the above logistics are an integral part of the engineer planning process. Engineer units that are not organic to a division are tailored for specific operations. Therefore, the staff engineer must articulate their CSS requirements from deployment planning through the engineer estimates for mission loads to the actual delivery of services and material. The coordination of units and resources facilitates the anticipation of engineer-unit sustainment requirements and the execution of CSS. The staff engineer ensures that CSS planners understand engineer-unit sustainment requirements and have a plan to meet those requirements.

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