Marine Corps: More aircraft and trucks, but fewer Marines
U.S. Marines evacuate as an MV-22B Osprey comes into land at Hat Yao, Thailand, Feb. 18, 2014, during Exercise Cobra Gold. The Marines are with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials unveiled the Marine Corps budget Tuesday, which comes at a time when the service is reducing its force structure as the war in Afghanistan winds down.
Plans call for the Marine Corps to shrink from its current active duty end-strength of 195,800 to 182,700 Marines by the end of 2015.
The base budget request for Fiscal 2015 is $22.8 billion, down $1.4 billion from last year. This year’s war funding request, known as “OCO”, has not yet been determined because the president has not made any decisions about force levels in Afghanistan post-2014, according to Rear Adm. William Lescher, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget.
Marine Corps procurement priorities include:
- The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. The service plans to procure six of the STOVL-variant in FY 2015, the same number as last year. Over the course of the Future Years Defense Program, 69 of the aircraft are scheduled to be purchased.
- The MV-22 Osprey. The Marines plan to buy 19 of the these aircraft in FY 2015, the same number as last year. The Osprey is a unique aircraft which can take off and land like a helicopter but fly like an airplane. Over the course of the FYDP, the Marines plan to buy 64 of them.
- The Joint-Light Tactical Vehicle and the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. commonly known as the Humvee. The service wants to buy eight and 57 of these ground vehicles, respectively, in FY 2015. Last year, the Marines bought no JTLVs last year and only one HMMWV.
Officials have warned that if sequestration goes into effect, further necessitate decreasing the size of the Marine Corps to 175,000.