Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Logistics is an age old problem that has been the key to the greatest victories and defeats in history. Maritime support of wartime land campaigns as well as conflicts at sea, has been the answer to that problem even as far back in history as the ancient Greek Empire. Throughout the ages however the lesson that seems to be learned and relearned, the hard way, is that of logistic support. Today the United States is faced with what, to some seems to be an overwhelming problem in logistic support overseas, particularly in the maritime transportation and support arena. The U.S. flag merchant fleet is in no position to support even a medium sized conflict overseas. At the same tie, our "peacetime" logistic security is continually threatened by the ebb and flow of other "friendly" nations' political attitudes. One option is the development of deployable mobile base and port structures. In many ways less expensive than permanent oversea basing facilities, mobile bases/ports could be a solution to some of the current maritime logistics woes of the U.S. By providing an alternative to fixed sea/air bases, the above two problems could be diminished. In addition, mobile overseas base facilities could provide military commanders with new strategic and tactical options during a crisis or conflict. They could give new meaning to the term "disaster relief" or even one day provide new economic options for entire nations. The technology for giant mobile ocean bases exists, but the capability to efficiently produce and use such facilities are still fifteen to twenty years away. In the interim, there is still a need for a mobile base capability. Use of existing offshore construction and mining operations equipment such as various drilling platform designs, giant support barges and floating port construction methods can fill the gap. There is historic and up to date data on the use of such designs for a multitude of purposes, including those stated above. An analysis of currently available equipment and capabilities can aid in making a choice, but as always cost effectiveness is a major factor in the decision. In this case however, there are high stakes in political costs as well as capital costs.