Behind the cover: Smaller raises, fewer troops


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for the first time detailed the hard choices his department will face if impacted by decade-long budget cuts — and it could include a historically low end strength for the Corps of just 150,000 Marines.

This week’s issue of Marine Corps Times examines the true effects the the across-the-board spending cuts — set to continue unless Congress stops them — will have on the Defense Department. Smaller pay raises for troops, major cuts to personnel and reductions in housing allowances are all areas at risk, Hagel said.

For Marines, the most jarring news out of Hagel’s address came when he said the Corps’ end strength could settle anywhere “between 150,000 and 175,000.” And that may mean involuntary separations could be on the horizon.

Hagel unveiled these details following the conclusion of the strategic review he launched in March after he was named defense secretary. He said his department will be forced to make choices between capacity and capability, meaning they’ll have to choose between spending money on people or on cutting-edge technology.

For more on the news of the new end strength for the Corps Hagel mentioned, check out the story on Marine Corps Times PRIME here.

Also in this week’s issue: A look at the new sniper rifle — who will get it and when; A Marine who left the Corps and moved over the Army earned the Medal of Honor; and a group of deployed Marines figure out a new way to ascend the distance it would take to climb Mount Everest — through pullups.


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