A legacy publication this week ran a letter to their editor allegedly composed by Captain Elle Ekman, a US Marine Corps logistics officer (archived). The letter's author relates some illustrative anecdotes showing the USG's preference for complicating logistics and letting expensively bought tooling rot in order to maximize their payments to contractors. The letter opens with:
A few years ago, I was standing in a South Korean field, knee deep in mud, incredulously asking one of my maintenance Marines to tell me again why he couldn’t fix a broken generator. We needed the generator to support training with the United States Army and South Korean military, and I was generally unaccustomed to hearing anyone in the Marine Corps give excuses for not effectively getting a job done. I was stunned when his frustrated reply was, "Because of the warranty, ma’am."
After a brief, forgetable foray into her local Pantsuit politics to pass the legacy editorial gatekeepers, she returns to reporting on the USG's entirely chosen sadness:
Besides the broken generator in South Korea, I remembered working at a maintenance unit in Okinawa, Japan, watching as engines were packed up and shipped back to contractors in the United States for repairs because "that’s what the contract says." The process took months.
With every engine sent back, Marines lost the opportunity to practice the skills they might need one day on the battlefield, where contractor support is inordinately expensive, unreliable or nonexistent.
I also recalled how Marines have the ability to manufacture parts using water-jets, lathes and milling machines (as well as newer 3-D printers), but that these tools often sit idle in maintenance bays alongside broken-down military equipment. Although parts from the manufacturer aren’t available to repair the equipment, we aren’t allowed to make the parts ourselves "due to specifications."
How pervasive is this issue for the most powerful[sic] military in the world? And what does it mean for a military that is expected to operate in the most austere and hostile environments to not possess the experience, training or tools to fix its own very technical equipment?
All signs point to these issues being incredibly pervasive, and it means that they can't be expected to operate per their own allies' observations in the field.