Written by Allen West on October 24, 2013 for allenbwest.com
Cuts to the Marine Corps as mandated by sequestration are bringing the force to dangerously low levels. In 2011, the Marines announced they hoped to “right-size” the force after a decade of war from 202,000 to 186,800. But last month, Commandant General Jim Amos announced the Corps would need to reduce the Marine force to a “minimum acceptable” level of 174,000 as a result of sequestration budget cuts.
This week, while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Major General Frank McKenzie addressed speculation that the force might have to be cut even deeper.
“Based on our review of the existing requirements today and our best-case projection for 2017, 150,000 would be an unviable number for the Marines,” McKenzie said.
While cuts to 150,000 are not likely, the reduction to 174,000 still means a cut to the fundamental unit of the Corps, the Marine Infantry Battalion. Since the Marines have already cut their end-strength (the maximum level of personnel authorized at the end of the fiscal year) from 202,000, which included some 27 infantry battalions, the 174,000 figure would require a reduction to 21 infantry battalions, as well as cuts to armor and towed artillery formations.
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