Smaller Marine Corps Likely to Deploy More Often
Smaller Marine Corps Likely
to Deploy More Often, Commandant Says
By Claudette Roulo, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DOD
News) – July 15, 2014 – The world is very dangerous, Marine Corps
Commandant Gen. James F. Amos said today but the United States has global
responsibilities and cannot become isolationist.
“It's not a matter of the sky is falling, I don't worry about
that, but I am concerned about the international arena,” he said during a
discussion sponsored by the Brookings Institute.
From events in the Palestinian territories and Israel to sub-Saharan
Africa and into the Asia-Pacific region, the problems of the world need to be
taken seriously, the commandant said.
“In that light, as it comes back to the United States of
America [and] the matter of ‘What's our role in it? What's our responsibility?
Do we have one’,” Amos said. “I'd argue that some of the drumbeat I hear is just,
'Come back home. Let's just disengage, let's let the world sort itself out and
then we'll just see what happens.'"
Isolationism in today’s global climate is naïve, he said.
Like it or not, the United States has a role in a real and dangerous world, the
general added. While the United States has many partners and allies, there are
really only a handful that can be relied on consistently, day after day, Amos
“We're probably the only country in the world that has the
resources and the capability to be able to do some of this that others can't,”
he said. And that means the global role of the United States should be a subject
of national discussion, he said, because the outcome of that discussion will
define the nation’s budget priorities.
“I believe the United States of America ... really is a force
for good,” the commandant said. "We may think we're done with all these nasty,
thorny, tacky little things that are going on around the world,” he said, “and
I'd argue if you are in that nation or you're in part of that it's not a little
tacky little thing for you … it's a big deal. But we may think we're done with
them, but they're not done with us."
His interventionist stance isn't an attempt to squeeze more
money from the defense budget, the general said. If one accepts the premise that
the nation has global responsibilities, he said, the military is one of the ways
of carrying them out.
“Certainly not the only way,” Amos said, “and I would argue,
in most cases maybe not the most effective way. Certainly diplomacy ... over
time has a greater effect."
But, Amos said, within the framework of the United States’
international responsibilities, it's important to discuss the impact that budget
uncertainty will have on the military. Planning for sequestration means the
Marine Corps will be relatively unscathed until at least 2016, when full
sequestration is scheduled to kick in again, he noted.
"We designed a Marine Corps for the future under a fully
sequestered budget," the general said. "...But Congress is the one that
allocates the money, and beyond '16 and beyond, I'm just not confident ... that
Congress is going to fix it."
The Corps presently has about 190,444 Marines, he said. "We
started at 202,000, so we're on our way down,” Amos said. “... And under a fully
sequestered budget, that's 175,000 Marines."
As the nation's smallest military service, operational forces
make up almost 70 percent of the Marine Corps, he said. With such a small
support base, personnel reductions are keenly felt in mission capacity, Amos
noted. If things don't change and Marine Corps manning falls to sequester levels
of 175,000 Marines, he said, the deployment-to-dwell for almost all Marine
combat units will be about 1:1.6 to 1.7.
"That means you're going to be gone for seven months, you're
going to come home for about 11, and then you're going to be gone again," the
"We've experienced that,” he said. “We were 1:1 at the height
of the war in Iraq, and we did that for almost three years. The ideal
deployment-to-dwell for reset, family, just kind of getting your head back in
the game is 1:3. So this 175,000 force is going to be a deploying Marine Corps."
There's no other way to meet national security requirements with a force that
size, Amos said.
(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews)
Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos