Logistics Over The Shore is the process of moving troops, equipment, supplies and fuel from seagoing transport vessels into a theater that either has no port facilities, or, as in the case of Haiti, has damaged or destroyed port facilities.
The Navy, through the Military Sealift Command, has the majority of the LOTS assets in our country, but the Army does have a significant role to play.
First, the Army has Transportation Battalions that specialize in running port operations, either conventional ports, or via LOTS.
Next, the Army also has some significant capability through its watercraft. The two types most applicable here are the LCU2000 (Landing Craft Utility) and the Logistics Support Vessel (LSV).
The LCU2000 is a small(ish) vessel that is mostly used intra-theater, for short-haul trips, though it can also be used as a lighter to offload large vessels that can’t get into a port or harbor. The Army is sending three from the 97th Transportation Company (Heavy Boat) to Haiti to assist with efforts there.
The LSV is a larger, ocean-going vessel that can be used either inter-theater, or intra-theater, to move heavy equipment and supplies.
Both types of vessels are owned and operated by the Army, not the Navy. Most of the Army’s watercraft are operated by the Reserves, but the LCUs being sent are from the active Army. They should provide considerable improvement to efforts to move supplies into Haiti, and, perhaps just as importantly, move trucks and other lift into Haiti to move supplies inside Haiti.
Just as an aside, these are logistical vessels, and are NOT suitable for conducting an assault landing. That’s a job for the Marines and the Navy. They have the specialized ships, vessels and training to conduct amphibious assault. The LCU and the LSV are strictly for providing supplies to forces already ashore.