The Supply Corps is the United States Navy's professional staff corps responsible for the supply phases of naval logistics.
The broad responsibilities of the Supply Corps are closely related to those of many executive positions in private industry and embrace such functional areas as financial management, inventory control, merchandising, transportation, procurement, data processing, and personal services. This includes paying and feeding the U. S. naval forces and operating the Navy's exchanges and commissary stores. The more than 2,700 naval officers who proudly wear the "Oak Leaf" of the Supply Corps are the business managers of the Navy, and they are responsible for the supply support of the ships of the active fleet and hundreds of naval shore installations.
Since 1795, when the Supply Corps was assigned the task of supporting six wooden frigates, the duties and responsibilities of this unique organization have kept pace with the expanding needs of the modern Navy and the scope of its mission. Supplying the Navy with the many different items essential to the operation of modern ships, missiles, aircraft, and facilities, and providing fuel, food, transportation, clothing, and service to the men and women of the Navy effectively, expeditiously, and economically demand the dedication and know-how of an expertly trained and highly skilled officer corps.
Today's Supply Corps Officer bears slight professional resemblance to his or her predecessor of more than 200 years ago when the Supply Corps came into being. But their major concern remains, as then, the participation in and supervision of the logistics support of the operating forces of the Navy. The term management is the key word in describing the Supply Corps Officer's area of primary interest. If the officer corps of the Navy were divided into three definitive areas of primary interest, one group would fall into sea warfare skills, another into science and engineering, and the third into management. It is the field of management which is the challenge of the Supply Corps. To meet this current and future challenge, the Supply Corps requires its officers to be schooled in a variety of management disciplines, in both a practical and theoretical sense.
Having progressed from supplying cannon balls to guided missiles, from provisioning wooden frigates to atomic-powered vessels, the Supply Corps has pioneered in developing techniques which play a vital role in the Navy's ability to meet the increasing complexity of the logistics support challenge of tomorrow. Today's Fleet must be lean, mobile and sophisticated. This framework, in which the Navy must be supported, demonstrates the obvious need for professional military management across the total spectrum of disciplines to which officers of the Navy Supply Corps are normally assigned. Officers of the Supply Corps will continue to contribute to the operational efficiency and fighting effectiveness of the U. S. naval force into the 21st century and beyond.