The Marine Corps may move the II Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters from Camp Lejeune to Norfolk Va. by 2017.
The possible move, which was reported by The Government Executive on Thursday based on remarks by Maj. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the leader of the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Review. McKenzie, speaking at a Navy League breakfast, called the move “probable.” There would also be a further possible reduction to the Marine Corps’ total end strength rather than the previously proposed 186,000 drawdown of the active duty force, McKenzie said. When pressed by attendees, McKenzie offered up 174,000 as the “lowest risk band” for the service. The reserve force would potentially drop from 39,600 to 38,500.
The move of II MEF to Norfolk would eliminate a two-star command headquarters at Lejeune and would place Marines on a deployment cycle of six months gone and 12 at home prior to their next deployment. TGE reported that McKenzie said the new command would be modeled after the deployable-anywhere expeditionary task forces headquarters in Okinawa, Japan, and Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Also to be cut with the drawdown are tanks and artillery, something that previously was not on the chopping block. Long-term stabilization activities, such as cooperative threat-response exercises with allies, would also be impacted.
“If we had to go to a major conflict, we’d be all in,” McKenzie said. “Everybody goes, no rotation.”
II Marine Expeditionary Force officials could not comment on the proposal for relocation of the headquarters element to Norfolk. Public affairs representatives at Norfolk could not be reached for comment.