The Marine Corps wants to make equipment maintenance more flexible and efficient. (Cpl. Kenneth Jasik / Marine Corps)
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A new Marine Corps order gives unit commanders the authority to perform equipment maintenance and repairs in-house when it makes sense to do so, rather than shipping the equipment to supporting units.
The new order, contained in Marine administrative message 159/13, signed March 26, cancels a series of previous orders. The aim of the new regulations is to make the maintenance process more efficient.
The most recent of the previous maintenance orders, released in 2010, created five maintenance echelons, breaking down different maintenance tasks by code and assigning them to different elements of the supported and supporting commands.
Under the new rules, Marine Corps maintenance managers said, unit commanders can simply talk with leaders of supporting commands and determine the solution that makes the most sense.
Maj. Joseph Farley, head of LPC-1, the Marine Corps maintenance policy section at the Pentagon, said the objective of the new MARADMIN is to do away with previous attempts to “make a rigid policy adaptable to all scenarios.”
“Rather than continue to do that, we decided to flip it, and come from the opposite perspective and start with a construct that is inherently flexible and adaptable: push control down to the commanders,” he said.
With the new system, an infantry unit deployed in theater would not have to evacuate broken equipment to a combat logistics battalion — potentially risking troops’ safety or wasting time — if the infantry unit had the tools and ability to perform field maintenance on the spot.
If there is disagreement between the supported and supporting unit commanders about who should perform a particular task, the Marine air-ground task force commander will make the final call.
“Most of what we’re enabling in the policy here happens already,” said CWO 5 Mark Schmidt, motor transport maintenance advocate with LPC-1. “But either the policy was not strictly adhered to or there was an approval process required.”