Marine Commandant: Preserve Navy & Marine Fighting Capabilities

Oct 11, 2011
Defense Drumbeat
Marine Corps Commandant General James F. Amos recently sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, detailing the critical roles both the Navy and Marine Corps play in national defense and global stability. Specifically, Amos makes the case that U.S. amphibious forces provide unmatched global reach, agility and readiness and the U.S. should seek to preserve this capability as the debate over further defense cuts intensifies.

In the letter, dated September 12th, 2001, Amos wrote:

“Our Nation faces an uncertain future; we cannot predict where and when events may occur that might call us to respond to protect our citizens and our interests. There have always been times when events have compelled the United States to become involved, even when such involvement wasn't desired; there is little doubt that we will have do this again in the future. Complicating matters is the fact that since the 1990s, our nation has significantly reduced the number and size of our bases and stations around the world.”

“We are a maritime nation. Like so much of the world, we rely on the maritime commons for the exchange of commerce and ideas. Many depend on us to maintain freedom of movement on those commons; we continue to take that responsibility seriously. Your naval forces are the solution set to fulfilling our global maritime responsibilities.”

He continued:

“When the Nation pays the 'sticker price' for its Marines, it buys the ability to remain forward deployed and forward engaged to assure our partners, reinforce alliances, and build partner capacity. For 7.8% of the total DoD budget, our Nation gains the ability to respond to unexpected crises, from humanitarian disaster relief efforts, to non-combatant evacuation operations, to conduct counter-piracy operations, raids or strikes. That same force can quickly be reinforced to assure access anywhere in the world in the event of a major contingency; it can be dialed up or down like a rheostat to be relevant across the range of military operations. No other force possesses the flexibility to provide these capabilities and yet sustain itself logistically for significant periods of time, at a time and place of its choosing.”

“Finally, in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world, we must continue to provide the protection our Nation needs and to preserve our ability to do what we must as the world's onlycredible remaining super power. As we face inevitable difficult resource decisions, I believe that we must also consider how we can best mitigate the inherent risk of a reduced defense capacity an affordable insurance policy, Marine Corps and the Navy's amphibious forces, represent a very efficient and effective hedge against the Nation's most likely risks.”

112th Congress