Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron
SUBJECT AREA Aviation
Title: Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron
Author: Major Charles T. Hayes, United States Marine Corps
Thesis: The Marine Corps has considered the science of
logistics and developed the Marine Aviation Logistics
Squadron (MALS) to enhance the aviation unit's transition
from a garrison configuration to the composite Aviation
Combat Element (ACE) of a Marine Air Ground Task Force
Background: In the last three decades, aviation logistics
has experienced revolutionary changes in an effort to
maximize aviation logistical support of Marine aviation.
These changes were a result of Marine aviation's effort to
adapt to the mission requirements of the Marine Corps'
expeditionary combat organization--the MAGTF. Aviation
logisticians have been challenged in the integration of
logistical support for tactical air operations of the
MAGTF. The composition and size of the MAGTF varies,
thus requiring the aviation logisticians and operational
commanders to adapt to several mission requirements of the
air-ground team. The implementation of the Headquarters and
Maintenance Squadron (H&MS) failed to provide enhanced
logistical support to the Marine Corps combat organization.
A total logistical support concept was necessary to
effectively support a composite Aviation Combat Element
(ACE). The implementation of the Marine Aviation Logistics
Squadron (MALS) provided a total support concept. This
squadron is task-organized and can adapt to the war-fighting
configuration of the ACE. The Marine Aviation Logistics
Support Program (MALSP) further enhanced the MALS capability
in providing aviation logistical support to any mix of
aircraft in garrison or in war-fighting.
Conclusion: The MALS organization offers aviation units
flexibility, mobility, and sustainment in support of the
combat ground forces. This organization also provides a
total support concept which effectively employs aviation
logistical support to meet the Marine Corps' combat role on
today's battlefield and in future conflicts.
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron
Thesis Statement: The Marine Corps has considered the
science of logistics and developed the Marine Aviation
Logistics Squadron (MALS) to enhance the aviation unit's
transition from a garrison configuration to the composite
Aviation Combat Element (ACE) of a Marine Air Ground
Task Force (MAGTF).
I. Aviation Logistics Adapts to Meet Marine Corps'
A. Marine Aviation Adapts to Changing Threats.
B. Marine Corps' Combat Role.
C. Marine Corps' Combat Organization.
D. Support of the MAGTF Elements.
II. Marine Aviation Logistical Support Background.
A. Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron (H&MS)
B. H&MS Operational Command Relationship.
C. H&MS Functional Requirements.
III. Aviation Logistical Support Reorganization.
A. MALS Implementation.
B. MALS Organizational Structure.
C. MALS Aviation Supply Department.
D. MALS Aviation Maintenance Department.
E. MALS Avionics Department.
F. MALS Ordnance Department.
G. MALS Operations Department.
IV. Marine Aviation Logistics Support Program (MALSP).
A. MALS Task Organization.
B. Fly-in Support Package (FISP).
C. Contingency Support Package (CSP).
D. Common Contingency Support Package (CCSP).
E. Peculiar Contingency Support Package (PCSP).
F. Follow-on Support Package (FOSP).
G. Training Squadron Allowance (TSA).
F. Training Exercise Support Package (TESP).
MARINE AVIATION LOGISTICS SQUADRON
The fundamentals of logistics have been misunderstood
and incorrectly applied for years. Military analysts have
devoted their energy to the study of strategy and tactics
with little emphasis on logistics. Operational commanders
have had little exposure to logistics, but all of them have
suffered the negative effects of this complex field when not
properly applied. In essence, logistics has been neglected
and misconstrued throughout history to modern day warfare.
Today's military strategist, prior to developing the art of
war, must consider the science of logistics.
The history of Marine aviation has shown that the Marine
Corps has adapted to modern day warfare and changing threats
through its aviation strategy, advanced air technology, and
improved aviation doctrine. Support of Marine aviation in
this changing environment, however, has been a challenge to
both the aviation logistician and the operational commander
in their efforts to integrate logistics which support the
tactical air operations of the Marine Air Ground Task Force
(MAGTF). Has Marine aviation logistics adapted the science
of logistics to meet these changing requirements? The
Marine Corps has considered the science of logistics and
developed the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) to
enhance the aviation unit's transition from a garrison
configuration to the composite Aviation Combat Element
(ACE) of the MAGTF.
An analysis of the Marine Corps' combat role reflects
the need to adapt aviation logistical requirements of the
ACE to meet the changing threat. The Marine Corps' combat
organization is a "force in readiness" and Marine aviation
is an integral part of this force. The air-ground team is
capable of rapid deployment and amphibious assault that
provides projection of military forces. Today's military
doctrine is focused on rapid deployment and forward
projection and the Marine Corps' MAGTF concept optimizes this
doctrine. Marine aviation logistics is an integral element
within the ACE and provides logistical sustainment to
maintain aircraft readiness, enabling the aviation component
to perform its role effectively within the MAGTF.
The complexity of the Marine Corps' combat organization
must be understood to comprehend the role of the ACE and the
functions necessary to support the aviation component. The
Marine Corps is an expeditionary combat organization which
deploys task forces consisting of aviation, ground, and
logistic elements. These elements may be integrated from
both active duty and reserve forces. Task forces are formed
from the Fleet Marine Forces (FMF) consisting of the Wings,
Divisions, and Force Service Support Groups.1 Once
integrated, this task force is known as a MAGTF and is a
balanced air-ground, combined arms force organized for combat.
This force is self-sufficient, flexible, mobile, and a
responsive organization capable of projecting military power
and deterrence abroad.
The composition and size of a MAGTF may vary, but the
organizational structure will always be composed of four
elements. These elements consist of the Command Element
(CE), the Ground Combat Element (GCE), the Aviation Combat
Element (ACE), and the Combat Service Support Element (CSSE).
The composition and size of the MAGTF is structured to
achieve the missions required to meet the existing world
threats. A MAGTF may be employed in three sizes: a Marine
Expeditionary Unit (MEU), a Marine Expeditionary Brigade
(MEB), and a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).2 The
composition of the ACE is task-organized to conduct tactical
air operations to support each of these MAGTF elements.
Marine aviation has continued to change and adapt to the
mission requirements of the Marine Corps' air-ground team.
These changes achieve the necessary air support required to
maximize the combat effectiveness of the ground forces. The
Marine Corps, during the early 1960's, adopted the Naval
Aviation Maintenance Program (NAMP) and organized its
aviation supporting units into the Headquarters and
Maintenance Squadrons (H&MS). This structure was implemented
in an effort to improve aviation logistical support, thereby
enhancing aviation response to the ground forces. This
organization was developed to enhance aviation supportability
by providing intermediate ("I") level maintenance for all
aircraft, and aircraft support equipment attached to a
specific Marine Aircraft Group (MAG). Some MAG's were
configured to a specific type/model/series (T/M/S) of
aircraft as a result of the introduction of new weapon
systems to the Marine Corps. The H&MS organizational
structure reflected the manning level required to provide "I"
level support from both the Intermediate Maintenance
Activity (IMA) and Group Supply Department to a specific and
predetermined quantity of T/M/S aircraft assigned to a MAG
while in garrison.3
The unique operational command relationship under the
H&MS concept later proved unable to meet the needs of the
Marine Corps' changing combat roles. The H&MS structure
did not provide a total logistical support concept. This
minimized the effectiveness of the supportability which was
to be achieved through the reorganization. The operational
structure of the H&MS was not standardized throughout the
Marine Corps. Some H&MS were operational squadrons with
assigned aircraft, while other H&MS had no aircraft assigned
and provided only IMA support to the air groups.
The H&MS functioned as an administrative department to
both the Group Supply Department and Group Headquarters in
addition to providing functional requirements as the
maintenance activity. The H&MS IMA Maintenance Officer
worked directly for the H&MS Commanding Officer but he also
served as a special staff officer to the Group Commanding
Officer, as did the Avionics Officer and Ordnance Officer.
The Group Supply Officer, although administratively assigned
to the H&MS, operationally reported directly to the MAG
Commanding Officer.4 The H&MS organization did not
provide a focal point for all logistical matters, but rather
piece-mealed logistical information to the MAG Commanding
Officer relative to maintenance or supply issues. The
operational and command structure of the H&MS was not
tasked-organized for the total logistical support concept.
The Marine Corps, in October 1988, again reorganized
Marine aviation logistical support to optimize the total
aviation support concept.5 This total support concept
brings together all aviation logistical functions under
one command, the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS).
The MALS Commanding Officer and Executive Officer are the
senior aviation logisticians in the MAG under this new
concept. The MALS Commanding Officer is the MAG
Commander's single point of contact for all aviation
logistical matters. The Aviation Supply, Maintenance,
Ordnance, and Avionics Officers are key staff members to
the MALS Commander and provide the technical expertise on
their related fields.6
The MALS organization structure enables the squadron
commander to effectively control and manage all aviation
logistics functions within the Marine Aircraft Group and
provide the MAG Commander a total support package. Colonel
J.R. Carswell, USMC, explains:
The term "Aviation Logistics" now formally encompasses
aviation support consisting of personnel, supply,
maintenance, avionics, facilities and tools/equipment.
This places the management and operation of aviation
logistics resourcing/planning and execution under one
command: Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron.7
The MALS is a command entity emulating the
organizational structure of other Marine squadrons. This
squadron is composed of the Commanding Officer, Executive
Officer, an Administrative Department (S-1), an Operations
Department (S-3), a Logistics Department (S-4), an Aviation
Supply Department (ASD), and an Aviation Maintenance
Department (AMD).8 The Aviation Supply and Maintenance
Departments provide the majority of the work force and
primary functional requirements of the squadron. This
command structure fosters closer communication between the
Maintenance and Supply Departments thus providing superb
logistical support to the squadrons. Appendix A depicts the
current command structure and shows the close interrelationship
between the departments that enables the squadron to provide
a total logistical support concept.9
The MALS Aviation Supply Department, formerly defined as
the Group Aviation Supply Support Center (GASSC), is now
co-equal with the Intermediate Maintenance Activity. The
primary functional requirements of the ASD under the MALS
concept have basically remained the same, with the exception
that ASD no longer provides support for Marine Corps property.
The ASD continues to have the responsibility of providing all
aviation supply support within the MAG. These requirements
include financial and inventory management of all aviation,
aviation-ground related equipment and funds (Navy dollars).
This department is also responsible for the requisition
processing and management of aviation, aviation-ground
related end-items, and stock replenishment. The Automated
Data Processing (ADP) system is under the operational
control of ASD and provides the Shipboard Uniform Automated
Data Processing System (SUADPS). The Naval Aviation
Logistics Command Management Information System (NALCOMIS),
however, is jointly managed by the Supply and Maintenance
Departments with ASD retaining the responsibility of
hardware and software configuration.
The task organization and functional responsibilities
within the Aviation Maintenance Department optimizes the
total logistical concept. The MALS Maintenance Officer
is the senior maintenance technical advisor to the MALS
Commander. All related maintenance functions within the
squadron are managed and coordinated through him. The
Avionics Officer and Ordnance Officer are the senior technical
advisors within their field; however, under the MALS concept
they are division officers and report directly to the MALS
Aviation Maintenance Officer. The IMA continues to perform
the functional requirements as it did under the H&MS
structure--to include (but not limited to) component
scheduling, repair and condemnation, X-Ray, quality
assurance, engine repair as authorized, maintenance 3M
analysis, coordination of drive-in/field modifications, and
publishing the monthly maintenance plan.10
The Avionics Officer in the MALS is responsible for the
performance and administration of the avionics effort, as a
whole, within the squadron. He is the senior Avionics
Officer and he coordinates with senior/subordinate
commands and other departments/divisions within the MAG
on all related avionics matters. This officer is
responsible for the management of readiness, effectiveness,
training, safety, support equipment calibration, mobile
facilities, calibrations requirements, and planned projects
that effect the Avionics Division. 11
The MALS Ordnance Officer provides all requirements
pertaining to the operation and distribution of all Class V
(A) (aviation ordnance) within the MAG. He is the senior
Ordnance Officer and provides the technical expertise on
aviation ordnance matters external/internal to the command.
His responsibilities include management of the Explosive
Ordnance Disposal Program, readiness, effectiveness,
training, armament, and munitions matters that are relative to
aviation ordnance. 12
A significant restructure of the H&MS to MALS
organization is the Operations Department (S-3) within the
squadron. A key billet within all Marine aircraft squadrons,
this billet was designed in MALS to provide logistical
synchronization to the multi-faceted logistical demands and
requirements placed on the squadron. The Operations
Department contains billets for both an Aviation Supply and
Maintenance Officer with the background and technical
expertise to provide centralized logistical planning.
Employment of Marine aviation weapon systems are now provided
a with total logistical support package to include: supply,
maintenance, personnel, facilities, and tools/equipment. The
MALS Operations Department provides the planning and
coordination with the respective functional departments
within the MALS and is capable of executing logistical
requirements in support of the squadrons.13
A primary function of the Operations Department is
logistical planning. The department is also responsible
for the overall technical training and development of
personnel within the squadron. Although this is not directly
related to the logistical planning, lack of personnel
qualification/certification would adversely effect the MALS'
capability to provide qualified "core augments" in support of
a squadron deployment. 14
Deploying MAG's are task-organized from one or more
Fixed Wing (FW)/Rotor Wing (RW) elements to form a composite
ACE in support of the MAGTF. MAG's, while operating in
garrison, do not employ weapon systems in the same manner as
required for a contingency. Garrison MAG's in most cases
operate single T/M/S aircraft which is ineffective in
providing tactical air operations in support of the MAGTF.
Squadrons are therefore transitioned to the Host MAG's to be
organized into a war-fighting configuration. The complexity
of these aircraft transfers has in the past become
overwhelming to the aviation logistician supporting these
aircraft. The transfer of these aircraft, however, is quite
necessary to enable the aviation component to support the
expeditionary combat organization of the MAGTF.
How then does this restructurinng of aviation logistics
improve Marine aviation employment of aircraft and the
integration of the ACE into the MAGTF? A primary reason for
this logistical enhancement under the MALS concept is the
implementation of the Marine Aviation Logistics Support
Program (MALSP). The program integrates several other
concepts to enable the aviation logistician to rapidly
task-organize logistic elements for employment in support of
the MAGTF ACE. The MALSP composition includes the Maritime
Pre-Positioning Ships (T-AVB) program, Contingency Support
Package (CSP) program, Fly-in Support Package (FISP)
program, and the stand up of the MALS squadron. 15 The MALS
command structure is the nucleus of the total logistical
support concept. The aviation logisticians under the MALS
organization and MALSP implementation are now extremely
effective in providing enhanced aviation logistical support
to the ACE, thus optimizing the overall effectiveness of the
The MALS must be task-organized to enable the
logistical element of the aviation component to effectively
support any mix of Marine aircraft in combat. MALS within
designated MAG's have been predetermined to function as a
FW Host MALS and a RW Host MALS of the ACE under the MALSP
concept. These designated MALS will provide a common FW or
RW nucleus or "core" to commence a logistical build-up to
support a war-fighting configured ACE. This core consists
of a CSP and is best described as a "MALSP building-block."
The CSP contains personnel, supply, maintenance, mobile
facilities, and support equipment required to support the
ACE in combat. MAG's will provide a predetermined T/M/S
aircraft to the FW/RW Host MAG to fully configure the
composite ACE. Those MALS from the MAG's providing aircraft
to the ACE will provide a peculiar CSP to the Host MALS. At
this point both the FW/RW Host MALS will be task-organized
to support the composite ACE. Appendix B depicts a Host MALS
task-organized in support of a composite ACE.16
The MALSP concept has provided a method for the
MALS to provide optimum aviation logistical support while
operating in garrison and the ability to task-organize and
support a war-fighting composite ACE. Headquarters
Marine Corps and the Aviation Supply Office have developed
several support packages which provide MALS the flexibility
of supporting a wide spectrum of logistic scenarios. These
allowance packages enhance logistical employment for
Marine aviation units to deploy as an expeditionary combat
The Fly-in Support Package (FISP) is an allowance
package designed to exploit the ACE capability for rapid
deployment. The composition of the FISP enables a
predetermined number of aircraft to rapidly deploy into the
Area of Responsibility (AOR). The FISP is comprised of
organic ("O") level repairable components and consumable
piece-parts which are capable of sustaining deployed aircraft
for about 10-30 days at combat utilization rates. The
employment of the FISP assumes there will be no
intermediate level maintenance capability within the AOR
until this support is phased-in by the arrival of the T-AVB
or follow-on MALS. Spares contained in the FISP have met
stringent criteria prior to establishment. Items which have
been designated are high usage and mission essential. The
FISP is flown in with the Fly-in-Echelon (FIE) aircraft and
is combined with the "O" level aviation support equipment
off-loaded from the Maritime Preposition Ship (MPS).17
The Contingency Support Package (CSP) is the nucleus
from which the MALS derives its logistical support
capabilities. The CSP's enable the MALS to provide a full
range of total support for the ACE. This support contains
aviation spares, personnel, support equipment, and mobile
facilities. These CSP's provide intermediate level
logistical support for the full mix of T/M/S weapon
systems assigned to the ACE and are capable of providing for
a 90-day endurance period (flying at a combat utilization
rate). There are several variations of the CSP to complement
the wide range of logistical scenarios. 18
The first of these variations is the Common Contingency
Support Package (CCSP). The CCSP is designed to provide
logistical support for common elements that the FW and RW
Host MALS would provide to all FW/RW aircraft while attached
to the ACE. The CCSP establishes the logistical base-line
provided by the Host MALS for the FW/RW transfer of other
aircraft to the ACE.19
The Peculiar Contingency Support Package (PCSP) is
another allowance package provided by the MALS. The
composition of this CSP provides only those peculiar elements
necessary to support a specific number of T/M/S aircraft
that are to be transferred. The Host MALS would receive this
PCSP and assume logistical management of this equipment being
transferred. Additionally, the Host MALS would assume full
inventory and financial accountability of the PCSP.20
Several benefits are derived from this concept of
logistical support. The first is the significant reduction
in the "lift footprint" required to support a composite ACE
when the Host MALS is tasked to provide all common support.
The second is the spares acquisition reduction associated
with the CSP concept and ability to transfer these assets,
thus eliminating the outfitting requirement for several
supporting sites. Third is the building-block method of
logistical support which optimizes the flexibility of the
MALS to adapt to any size the MAGTF wishes to employ.
Appendix C graphically displays the CSP deployment/employment
The design of these CSP's supports the MAGTF aviation
combat capability but it does not provide the ACE with a full
complement of aviation logistical support for sustaining
operations in the AOR. The Follow-on Support Package (FOSP)
provides the FW/RW Host MALS full intermediate level
maintenance and would provide the ACE indefinite spares
sustainment. The FOSP for each MALS varies, but contains
the capability for first-degree engine repair and those
repairable components and consumable piece-parts to fully
outfit the remainder of the CSP. The FOSP would be
transferred into theater upon request and due to its size
would be phased-in with the Assault Follow-on Echelon (AFOE)
The FISP, PCSP, CCSP and the FOSP provide the
commander the flexibility for rapid deployment and sustained
operations in support of the MAGTF. These support packages
however, are time-phased into the AOR, arriving with the FIE
aboard the Aviation Logistics Ship (T-AVB), strategic
airlift and with the AFOE follow-up shipping. Appendix D
shows the time-phasing sequence for the movement of these
support packages into the theater.23
Marine aviation, however, still operates in garrison and
requires logistical support for Marine Fleet Replacement
Squadrons. The CSP provides support for the tactical air
operations of the MAGTF war-fighting capabilities and are not
designed for garrison operations. A Training Squadron
Allowance (TSA) has been developed to meet the requirement
for garrison operations. The TSA is designed for a specific
number and T/M/S aircraft. This allowance is calculated
using the peacetime flying hour rate at a 30-day endurance
period. The Training Exercise Support Package (TESP)
complements the TSA providing MALS the capability to support
simultaneous training deployments.24
In the final analysis, the Marine Aviation Logistics
Squadron has proven to be an organization that can
effectively employ aviation logistics in support of the
Marine Corps' expeditionary combat force--MAGTF. The MALS
is task-organized providing enhanced aviation logistics
tailored to support the ACE's tactical situation. Aviation
logistics is an integral element of the ACE that provides
expeditionary and sustained support to this war-fighting
configuration. The MALS provides a total support concept
for both garrison and deploying units. Operational
commanders no longer perceive aviation support as a
logistical web, grasping to understand and manage a complex
subject. The fundamentals of aviation logistics can now be
applied by the senior aviation logistician within the
command in addition to responding to the operational
commander's inquires on all aviation logistical matters.
Employment of Marine combat forces will not be compromised
by aviation logistics. The Marine Corps has studied the
negative effects of this complex field and has applied the
science of logistics to establish aviation support as a
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1. MCCDC, USMC, Fleet Marine Force Organization 1990,
FMFRP 1-11 (Quantico, 1990), p.2-1.
2. Ibid., p. 2-3.
3. Aviation Logistics Department, "Marine Aviation Logistics
Squadron (MALS)," 25 Sep. 1987, ASL-31/T9MALSblm, (USMC,
Headquarters, Washington D.C.).
4. Naval Message, CMC Washington D.C., 290006Z SEP 88.
5. Naval Message, CMC Washington D.C., 270002Z JUL 88.
6. Naval Message, CMC Washington D.C., 290006Z SEP 88.
8. USMC, Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Logistics Support,
Draft Inst., (Washington D.C., 6 Jun. 1991), p.6.
9. Ibid., Fig. 2-1.
10. Department of the Navy, The Naval Aviation Maintenance
Program (NAMP), OPNAVINST 4790.2E (Washington D.C., 1989),
pp.6-1 to 6-2.
11. Ibid., p.6-3.
13. Naval Message, CMC Washington D.C., 290006Z SEP 88.
15. Carswell, John R., Col., USMC, "The Marine Aviation
Logistics Program," The Log, Oct. 1991, p.5.
16. USMC, Draft Inst., 6 Jun. 1991, Fig. 3-1.
17. Carswell, p.5.
18. Torsak, John, LtCol., USMC and Philip F. Shutler, Maj.,
USMC, "Expeditionary Marine Aviation," Amphibious Warfare
Review, Summer 1990, p.66.
19. USMC, Draft Inst., 6 Jun. 1991, p.15.
20. Ibid., p.16.
21. Torsak, p.6, Fig. 1.
22. Ibid., p.6.
23. USMC, Draft Inst., 6 Jun. 1991, Fig. 3-4.
24. USMC, "Marine Aviation Logistic Support Concept,"
Contingency Support Package-AVCAL Allowance Development
Handbook, (Washington D.C., 1989), p.35.
Aviation Logistic Department, "Marine Aviation Logistics
Squadron (MALS)," 25 Sep. 1987, ALS-31/T9MALSblm,
(USMC, Headquarters, Washington D.C.).
Carswell, John R., Col., USMC, "The Marine Aviation
Logistics Program," The Log, Oct. 1991.
Department of the Navy, The Naval Aviation Maintenance
Program (NAMP), OPNAVINST 4790.2E (Washington
MCCDC, USMC, Fleet Marine Force Organization 1990, FMFRP
1-11 (Quantico, 1990).
Naval Message, CMC Washington D.C., 270002Z JUL 88.
Naval Message, CMC Washington D.C., 290006Z SEP 88.
Torsak, John, LtCol., USMC, and Philip F. Shutler, Maj.,
USMC, "Expeditionary Marine Aviation," Amphibious
Warfare Review), Summer 1990.
USMC, Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Logistics Support, Draft
Inst., (Washington D.C., 6 Jun. 1991).
USMC, "Marine Aviation Logistic Support Concept," Contingency
Support Package-AVCAL Allowance Development Handbook,
(Washington D.C., 1989).
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