Defense Budget 2007: Marines budget maintains personnel, adds more Ospreys
WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps is seeking an additional $800 million in its overall budget — a 5 percent increase from last year — to $16.8 billion.
Unlike its Navy counterparts, Marine units would not see any reduction in personnel. Active-duty forces would remain at their 175,000 funded figure, slightly below the actual current force total of around 180,000. Marine Corps Reserve units would stay at their current strength of 39,600.
The budget also includes funding for the purchase of 14 new Marine V-22 Ospreys, five more than the corps bought last year. The new set of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft will cost more than $85 million.
The MV-22 Osprey is designed for combat, combat support and Special Operations missions worldwide. It is designed to replace the Corps’ aging fleet of CH-46E and CH-53D medium-lift helicopters.
The fiscal 2007 budget proposal also calls for the creation of a new special operations command, the first such elite Marine unit.
The new command, partially funded through the Navy’s SOCOM, is part of the Defense Department’s overall plans to increase special forces to provide better strategic flexibility to military commanders.
Officials said they plan to fill two infantry battalions with the new Marine special forces.
Funding for ammunition procurement will drop by $35 million, nearly 10 percent off last year’s total. Overall reductions in procurement for equipment and parts will total more than $1.7 billion, with nearly a billion of that coming from reductions in vehicle, communications and electronics equipment.
Those line items could be boosted by a supplemental budget request.
Bozin said many force expenses and upgrades have been covered in past supplementals, but details of what might be covered in future requests won’t be discussed until President Bush releases his next supplemental in a few weeks.