Marines conduct a field exercise at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The Defense Department’s fiscal year 2015 budget request, released Tuesday, shows that many stateside Marine Corps units are lacking the personnel, equipment and/or training required to maintain acceptable readiness levels. (Lance Cpl. Ryan Carpenter/Marine Corps)
Only half of non-deployed Marine units were at an acceptable level of readiness last September due to the long-term budget cuts known as sequestration, the Pentagon announced this week.
This revelation was bundled into the Defense Department’s budget request for next fiscal year, released Tuesday morning. When it took effect last year, sequestration triggered $500 billion worth of cuts to the defense budget to be implemented over a decade. Marine officials have said the cuts, if they remain in place, will require Marines to dip to a “barely acceptable” force of 175,000 by 2017; but the new information shows sequestration has had a much more immediate impact.
The data comes from the Marine Corps’ Defense Readiness Reporting System, said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan. The system, established as a concept across the Defense Department at the turn of the century and enhanced with new requirements for the Marine Corps in 2010, collects data on unit resources, training and preparation, which is then reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Flanagan did not specify what the units at unacceptable readiness levels were lacking.