The Commandant of the Marine Corps verbalizes his disconcert about the fast approaching defense budget cuts weakening your Marine Corps to bare bones numbers. Below he talks how dropping to a below par number of Marines will put security at risk and will prevent Marines from completing required missions. He holds his ground but the evident massive defense cuts can’t be stopped as the election is over and plans are set in place. At least he is voicing that he disagrees with it.
Time for a CGar....the box is getting empty......
The top US Marine Corps (USMC) general has suggested that he is not comfortable with further reducing the corps' planned 182,000 end-strength to save more money, but said that maintaining constant "readiness" is his top priority.
"My most important measure is not how many marines or items of equipment we have, but how ready we are to accomplish our mission," USMC Commandant General James Amos said during an 8 November briefing at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.
"Protecting our readiness is probably the number one concern on my plate - being our nation's expeditionary crisis response force, there's no effective substitute for readiness," Gen Amos stated, adding that fewer marines could eventually affect the corps' capacity for response.
The USMC began to grow its force around 2006 from about 176,000 marines to a high of 202,000 during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, asked to plan for a post-war corps, the marines established a Force Structure Review Group that studied overall requirements and suggested they would need 186,000 active duty troops in total.
Gen Amos noted that the recommendation was still 10,000 marines more than in 2006, but that this accounted for changes that include establishing Marine Corps Special Operations Command (3,500 marines), fully manning all units (around 6,000), creating a cyber component (about 1,000), and building organisations for counterinsurgency training or other functions.
The 2011 Budget Control Act, however, dropped the Pentagon's planned 10-year spending by USD487 billion and this necessitated that the USMC drop its end-strength still further, down to 182,000 troops by Fiscal Year 2017.
"We've already taken risk now," Gen Amos said, "going down to [182,000]". Any further reductions to USMC end-strength are "going to reduce capacity and in some cases maybe some capability" to be able to respond to multiple crises or needs, he added.
To ensure that the USMC can afford a force of 182,000 personnel, Gen Amos said the corps could assume more risk in its modernisation accounts. "Am I going to be able to buy all the things I want? No. Am I going to be able to modernise the way I want? No."
For example, he cited the USMC's plans to buy 5,500 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles rather than an originally programmed 20,000, and instead refurbish and possibly upgrade Humvees and 7-ton trucks.
However, he added, "there are some things I absolutely have to do", such as modernise the corps' CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, which are more than 40 years old.'
Maintaining 'readiness' is the USMC commandant's top priority as defence spending is set to slow
He believes cuts in end-strength beyond current plans for 182,000 marines would 'reduce capacity'