By Debbie Gregory.
The assistant commandant of the Marine Corps has warned Congress that their mission is threatened by budget cuts, which has led to a dangerous lack of readiness and training.
Assistant Commandant Gen. John Paxton has said that nearly half of non-deployed Marine units do not have all of the personnel, equipment or training they need.
“I think it’s 46 percent [of units that] have some degree of personnel, training or equipment degradation,” Paxton told reporters after testifying before the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
“I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now,” Paxton added.
Paxton warned about the drastically reduced ability of aviation, communications and intelligence units.
“In the event of a crisis, these degraded units could either be called upon to deploy immediately at increased risk to the force and the mission, or require additional time to prepare thus incurring increased risk to mission by surrendering the initiative to our adversaries,” Paxton said. “This does not mean we will not be able to respond to the call … It does mean that executing our defense strategy or responding to an emergent crisis may require more time, more risk, and incur greater costs and casualties.”
To remedy troop readiness issues, the Marine Corps plans to ask Congress for $460 million as part of the service’s unfunded priority list. That money would go toward training, exercises, facility sustainment and spare parts.
Buying new aircraft while maintaining older models has made it challenging to get aviation units the spare parts they need, Paxton said.
“A lot of times, it is the parts that [are] the key limiting factor,” he said. “You have to get them out there. That takes money to do it. It also takes time to get them there.”