For nearly a year, the Marine Corps’ top officials have stayed on message with two main points regarding manpower: A drawdown wouldn’t begin until after the war in Afghanistan, and it would reduce the service to 186,800 Marines.
Those points were reinforced early this year with the release of the Corps’ force-structure review recommendations. It called for a 13 percent reduction in ground combat forces, but stuck with that 186,800 end-strength figure.
It’s time for a reality check. In light of the nation’s financial trouble, that plan may not be feasible. In this week’s Marine Corps Times cover story, we outline what could happen instead, relying on interviews with top service officials, past reporting and a look at previous drawdowns.
Commandant Gen. Jim Amos acknowledges that force reductions could now begin as soon fiscal 2013, which begins next October. He and Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, the Corps’ top enlisted Marine, offer up their thoughts and advice to Marines, but acknowledge life in the Corps will soon be a whole lot more competitive.
To check the story out, pick up this week’s Marine Corps Times on newsstands. You also can read it online by subscribing here.