The military services, particularly the Army and Air Force, should strive to improve readiness and save costs by using ships in dual roles of transport and storage for equipment and prepositioned containers loaded with supplies. If these containers were designed to be used tactically, were about 1/8 the size of 20-foot equivalent containers, had a gross weight of about 2,500 pounds, and were used with strategic vessels with selective offload capability, then existing airborne connectors could resupply front-line warfighting units directly from the sea. The prepositioning of supplies at sea would also be cost-effective both for items in transit and in storage. A corresponding increase in prepositioning unit equipment, like tracked and wheeled vehicles on board Roll-on/Roll-off ships, would significantly improve deployment timelines.
Sustainment from the Deep Sea
Of the three U.S. military domains of sea, air, and space, the sea offers the most potential to improve the movement of forces from strategic transportation vessels to joint operational areas and the sustainment of a joint force.
By Lieutenant Colonel James C. Bates, U.S. Army (Retired)