Sequestration ‘Dangerous’ to the Marine Corps (Updated)
By Yasmin Tadjdeh
Sequestration could negatively — and disproportionally — affect the Marine Corps, the service's top officer said Aug. 28 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, said in a luncheon speech that sequestration was “dangerous” to the service.
“If we end up with sequestration, it will disproportionately affect the Marine Corps,” Amos said. “Because our numbers are so small, our budget is so small … the effects will actually, in some cases, cause us to end up canceling programs.”
While Amos did not mention specific programs, he said it would be difficult to rebound from 11 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan if the draconian cuts that may be put into place after Jan. 1 come to pass.
“Quite honestly, it would stunt any kind of modernization,” said Amos.
One of the most difficult parts of sequestration, Amos said, is that young members of the Corps have worked in an era where they could get whatever they needed and wanted. Preparing for more austere times is the biggest challenge that faces the Marine Corps today, Amos said. Over the last decade, all the services had lived in “an environment of plenty,” as Amos called it.
“I’ve got young lieutenants that are actually captains today, and young majors, that that is all they know,” said Amos. “If they needed something they got it, and it’s only us old guys that can remember some of the more austere times.”
Amos said he has encouraged members of the service to ask themselves, “What’s good enough?” For example, he pointed to the expected acquisition of Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) in the coming years. Rather than purchasing tens of thousands, the service will only purchase 5,000. The Humvees it already has in its inventory are “good enough,” he said.
“It’s kind of a matter of a culture change, and a mental shift,” said Amos.
Amos, during the luncheon, also touched on another hot topic: biofuels. Several ships and airplanes tested biofuels at the recent Rim of the Pacific Exercise, better known as RIMPAC, he noted. While Amos noted that this was not a Marine Corps initiative, he supports alternative energy — though not necessarily biofuels.
“I support the efforts for alternative fuel. We’re doing a lot right now in our little small piece of the world, in Afghanistan, and combat posts with regards to alternative fuels — not so much biofuel — but batteries, solar [and] wind,” said Amos. “Biofuels, I think, is probably just one step along the way.”
Correction: The original post identified Gen. James F. Amos with the incorrect middle initial.
Photo Credit: Marines