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Marine Corps Drawdown, Force Structure Initiatives, and Roles and Missions: Background and Issues for Congress

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Congressional rept.

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The Marine Corps characterizes itself as a crisis response expeditionary force which is task organized and able to conduct operations across the entire spectrum of military operations. The Corps is a middleweight force that is designed to fill the void in our Nation s defense structure between light Special Operations Forces SOF and heavier conventional units. The Marines missions are codified in U.S. Code, Title 10, Section 5063, United States Marine Corps Composition and Functions, and marines are the nation s primary amphibious force, capable of conducting amphibious assault operations in both permissive and non-permissive environments. Marine operational forces are organized for specific tasks and consist of four elements a command element a ground combat element an aviation element and a logistics combat element. There are four types of Marine Air Ground Task Forces MAGTFs the Marine Expeditionary Force MEF the Marine Expeditionary Brigade MEB the Marine Expeditionary Unit MEU and the Special Purpose MAGTF. A number of decisions pertaining to national security strategy, force structure, and declining defense budgets have resulted in a drawdown of the active Marine Corps from 202,000 in 2011 to 174,000 by 2017. Some believe that if sequestration continues, the Marines could be compelled to draw down to a force of 150,000 Marines a strength level Marine Corps leadership has characterized as unviable to execute our current defense strategy. The Marines have instituted a number of force shaping programs to reach the 174,000 endstrength. They believe this force level can be achieved through natural attrition as well as voluntary separation programs where Marines who leave the service early can receive financial compensation. Officials caution that if the Marines are required to drawdown to 150,000, involuntary separation programs might need to be enacted.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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