The Marine Corps’ end strength will drop by thousands for the first time since it ended a years-long post-war drawdown as the service moves forward with a plan to slash manpower costs to pay for modern equipment and weapons systems.
The Marine Corps wants $46 billion in 2021, almost identical to last year's $45.9 billion request as the Pentagon's topline budget ask for next year remains flat. The request includes plans to drop the force from its authorized 2020 end strength of 186,200 down to 184,100 in 2021.
The manpower reductions are "part of larger reform initiatives aimed at internally generating resources ... to reinvest in modernization and increasing lethality," budget documents state. Moving toward a smaller service is part of a plan to get the Marine Corps to where it needs to be in the next 15 years, the request states.
If approved, the reduction would mark the first time the force has faced personnel cuts since 2016, when the Marine Corps ended a drawdown that cut about 20,000 from the ranks after it bulked up during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (end of excerpt)
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