As the Marine Corps draws down from Afghanistan and welcomes a new commandant in Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, it faces uncertainty about its mission and its future.
Like the rest of the armed services, the Marines face an uncertain budgetary future as the sequester continues. As a result, a smaller Marine force must contend with a growing number of threats. The Marines are the U.S.’s rapid response force, and must master the counterinsurgency lessons of Afghanistan without forgetting the Corps’ conventional amphibious roots; a focus that has declined somewhat as the Marine-Navy relation has seen less focus through two land-based wars.
Readiness has become the current priority for the Corps, but whether that will hamstring modernization and long term advancements remains an open question.
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.