Combat service support (United States)

Combat service support is a topic that is, broadly speaking, a subset of military logistics. However, combat service support is often more limited in depth, as the related groups primarily address factors supporting readiness for combat operations. The United States Department of Defense organizes various agencies providing services such as medical assistance, for example, akin to other nations' militaries.

United States Army

In the United States Army, the term combat service support was until 2008 defined as the essential capabilities, functions, activities, and tasks necessary to sustain all elements of operating forces in theater at all levels of war. Within the national and theater logistics systems, it includes but is not limited to that support rendered by service forces in ensuring the aspects of materiel and supply chain management, maintenance, transportation, health services, and other services required by aviation and ground combat troops to permit those units to accomplish their missions in combat. Combat service support encompasses those activities at all levels of war that produce sustainment to all operating forces on the battlefield. Within the United States Army, the traditional combat service support branches are the following:

Basic branches

Special branches

Replaced by sustainment

"Combat service support" as a classification was replaced by "sustainment" with the publication of FM 3–0, Operations in February 2008.[1] Sustainment is one of the six warfighting functions, which also include movement and maneuver, intelligence, fires, command and control, and protection.[1]

United States Marine Corps

In the United States Marine Corps, combat service support has a similar definition to that of the United States Army. The Marine Corps Logistics Command (MARCORLOGCOM) is the preferred provider of supply chain management, collaborative maintenance management and strategic prepositioning to the operating forces of the United States Marine Corps and other services and agencies.

The Logistics Combat Element (LCE), formerly Combat Service Support Element (CSSE) is the portion of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) responsible for providing logistical support. The LCE provides all support functions not organic to the ground combat element (GCE) and aviation combat element (ACE) units of the MAGTF. Functions include: heavy engineer support, motor transport, supply, maintenance, medical, dental, and specialized support such as air delivery, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and landing support.

Logistics groups

There are four logistics groups in the United States Marine Corps:

See also


  1. Headquarters, Department of the Army (27 February 2008). FM 3–0, Operations (PDF). Washington, DC: GPO. ISBN 9781437901290. OCLC 780900309. Retrieved 31 August 2013.

Further reading

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