Our war-fighter readiness: being most ready, when our nation is least ready. Care for our wounded, ill, and injured and our family care programs, preserving strong families, transition readiness, returning quality citizens, after their selfless service. Combatting social ills, prevention, accountability, treatment and resiliency. And maintaining our facility sustainment, restoration, and modernization for our billions of dollars worth of infrastructure.
Today I report more than 37,000 Marines are forward deployed, forward engaged, shaping, training, and deterring aggression around the globe. Supporting all six geographical combatant commanders. We are providing our nation the capability to contain crisis, build a gap, or hold the line.
We may be done with Afghanistan this year, but those that we have been fighting are not done with us. At our core, the Marine Corps is the nation’s crisis response force and fulfilling this role is our top priority. We’ve met and continued to meet our obligations in current conflicts, emerging crises, and steady stayed operations. To that point and most recently, your Marines’ efforts have saved lives, provided much needed relief, and evacuated over 19,000 victims ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan.
Our special purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response successfully executed a non-combat evacuation operation in south Sudan and provided reinforcements to other US embassies. We have participated in hundreds of theater security cooperation activities with the armed forces of more than 50 partner nations. The 13th, 22nd and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are afloat and they stand ready as a rapid response force capability providing stability in their area of responsibility.
And we continue to stand alongside the Afghan National Security Forces, engaged in combat, conducting counter insurgency, and security force assistance advisory missions. Marines can face America’s adversaries on the front line or respond to any emerging crisis because of the care and support we provide our families on the homefront.
With the progress that we’ve made in our warfighting capabilities and Marine Family Readiness programs over this past decade plus, and as we draw down to move to a post OEF environment, the Corps remains committed to building the most ready force our nation can afford, balanced across our pillars of readiness.
High quality people, unit readiness, the capability and capacity to meet the combat and command requirements, the infrastructure, sustainment, and equipment modernization.
We are proud of our reputation for frugality and remain a best value for our country’s defense. In these times of budget austerity, you can hold high expectations for your Corps to be good stewards of tax payer dollars.
The Marine Corps will continue to meet the needs of the combatant commanders as a strategically mobile force optimized for forward presence and be the crisis response force of choice for our leadership. We may have less, but it doesn’t mean we’ll be doing less, nor will we do it any less than best.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
[…] For those of you reading this letter, you may also read Sgt Major Barrett’s opening statement. […]