The Marine Corps will cut even more personnel in coming years, commandant says

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U.S. Marines assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, exits out the back of a Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle with Republic of Korea Marines, August 9, 2017.

U.S. Marines assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, exits out the back of a Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle with Republic of Korea Marines, August 9, 2017.

The Marine Corps plans to shrink even more than already announced, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger told lawmakers on Thursday.

“This year, in this budget, we reduce manpower the equivalent of a couple thousand of Marines,” Berger said during Thursday’s House Armed Services Committee hearing. 

“That probably won’t be the largest one – or the last. Why? I think every service chief would love to have a better force. But you need us to be lethal. You need us to be mobile. You need us to be integrated with the Navy. So we’re going to reduce the size of the Marine Corps some this year, more next year.”

Berger did not say how much smaller the Marine Corps expects to get. His comments about reducing the size of the Marine Corps came in response to Rep Mike Rogers  (R-Ala.) about when the Corps will “take the knife out” and make cuts so that it can invest in new technology.

The Navy Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2021 already calls for reducing the Marine Corps’ active-duty end strength from 186,200 to 184,100 through attrition.

The roughly 2,100 Marines that the Corps plans to cut will come from headquarters, not operational units, Navy Rear Admiral Randy B. Crites said during a Feb. 10 news briefing. at the Pentagon.

The reduction will be achieved by retaining fewer Marines instead of making cuts to recruiting goals, said Crites, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget.

No information about further personnel cuts was immediately available.