Top Marine tells Congress Corps isn’t ready to fight another war

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    71st Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima
    The Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr., speaks during the 71st Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima Ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington, Washington, D.C., Feb. 19, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tia Dufour/Released)

    The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying that Marines might not be ready if an unexpected conflict arises.

    According to Stripes, General John Paxton told the Committee that the Marines could be unprepared to fight another war, possibly facing great casualties and defeat if a conflict were to spring up.

    “I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now,” he said, citing a lack of training and equipment.

    According to Paxton, most of the Corps’ “good” equipment is overseas, leaving the units in garrison with inadequate weapons, supplies and vehicles.

    “In the event of a crisis, these degraded units could either be called upon to deploy immediately at increased risk to the force and the mission, or require additional time to prepare thus incurring increased risk to mission by surrendering the initiative to our adversaries,” Paxton said. “This does not mean we will not be able to respond to the call. It does mean that executing our defense strategy or responding to an emergent crisis may require more time, more risk, and incur greater costs and casualties.”

    Communications and intelligence units are vastly underprepared and ill-equipped, as well as over 80% of aviation units lacking ready aircraft to respond to a crisis.

    “All of our intelligence and communications battalions…would be unable to execute their full wartime mission requirements if called upon today,” he said.

    When hounded about the number of increasing air accidents, Paxton said the Marines are looking into whether or not there is a correlation between crashes and lack of training and equipment.

    “We are concerned about an increasing number of aircraft mishaps and accidents,” he said. “We’re looking to see if there’s a linear correlation. We know historically that if you don’t have the money and you don’t have the parts and you don’t have the maintenance, then you fly less. We call it ‘sets and reps’ – you need sets and repetitions to keep proficiency up there. So we truly believe if you fly less and maintain slower there’s a higher likelihood of accidents. So we’re worried.”

    The US Marine Corps is staffed by 220,900 personnel across both active and reserve components — they own and maintain 1,166 various forms of aircraft.

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