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According to Commandant James Amos, the Marine Corps’ ability to act as a “shock absorber” is at risk because of mounting defense cuts. In a conversation Thursday morning at AEI, he described how in an increasingly uncertain world, the United States — and the Marine Corps, in particular — has the unique ability to shape the international environment, deter potential aggressors, respond to crises, and serve as a stabilizing force for allies. This presence, however, depends upon having the resources necessary to remain forward deployed and engaged.
General Amos cautioned that today’s mounting defense cuts are coming at the expense of long-term readiness and a healthy force. He explained how the Marine Corps, severely under strength due to postwar defense cuts, scrambled to send Marines into combat in Korea who had not completed even basic training.
Today, sequestration similarly threatens to degrade the Corps’ readiness and risks creating a hollow force. America cannot afford to make the same mistakes again, Amos argued, particularly with the service that functions as the nation’s insurance policy against uncertainty and the unknown. The US and, by extension, the military truly are a “global force for good,” but need adequate military resources to maintain peace and prosperity abroad, he said.
The US military is entering a period of widespread and discontinuous change. With forces transitioning out of lead combat roles in the Middle East and rebalancing to the Pacific, along with large-scale budget reductions, the military of the next 10 or 20 years may look very different than the force that has been at war for over a decade.
Many of these changes raise profound questions for the future of the US Marine Corps. In a period of budgetary retrenchment, what is the unique value of an expeditionary force such as the Marines? AEI's Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies will host General James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, for a timely discussion on the future of the Corps. AEI's conversation with General Amos will mark the beginning of a series of four events with the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding the future of their respective military services.
Mackenzie Eaglen, AEI
General James F. Amos, United States Marine Corps
For more information, please contact Charles Morrison at email@example.com, 202.862.5945.
For media inquiries, please contact MediaServices@aei.org, 202.862.5829.
General James F. Amos assumed the duties of commandant of the US Marine Corps on October 22, 2010. He has held command at all levels from lieutenant colonel to lieutenant general. Gen. Amos has served numerous tours with distinction, including as chief of staff of U.S. Joint Task Force Noble during the air campaign over Serbia, and he was in command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing during Operations IRAQI FREEDOM I and II from 2006–08. He previously served as assistant deputy commandant for aviation; assistant deputy commandant for plans, policies, and operations; and from 2008–10, he served as the 31st assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.
Mackenzie Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the US Congress — both House of Representatives and Senate — and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. She specializes in defense strategy, budget, military readiness, and the defense industrial base. In 2010, Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess the Pentagon's major defense strategy. A prolific writer on defense-related issues, she has also testified before Congress.