Armed Forces News

An AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter and UH-1Y Huey helicopter fly off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, toward Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, during maintenance and readiness flights, June 13, 2013. The training was designed to challenge aircraft maintenance crews to maintain the highest possible levels of readiness. A series of 12 helicopters from HMLA-367 and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 participated in the training, including AH-1W Super Cobras, UH-1Y Hueys and CH-53E Super Stallions. (Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder)

A year after submitting his plan to reshape the Marine Corps, Commandant Gen. David Berger is reaffirming his commitment to transform the service to face future conflicts. In a recent memorandum to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, Berger said that he has no desire to see the Corps’ budget increased in 2022.

Rather, he intends to reallocate existing funds including a reduction in military personnel by 12,000 and civilian personnel by 15 percent, the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) Press reported.

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Additionally, Berger plans to eliminate armor and reduce the number of amphibious vehicle companies, artillery batteries, fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, and infantry battalions, USNI reported. These are the same plans Berger articulated when he presented his ideas to the Trump administration in 2020. USNI obtained a copy of the memorandum.

The future configuration of the Marine Corps will focus on establishment of three Marine Littoral Regiments (MLR) in Hawaii, Guam and Japan, Berger stated in the memo.

The units would serve as the backbone of Marine presence in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Berger anticipates that the Navy would purchase more smaller crewed and autonomous vessels, to fill any gaps in missions the Marines plan to forego.

“The Marine Corps cannot remain relevant as a globally employable naval expeditionary force in readiness without close and continuing support of the United States Navy,” Berger wrote, as reported by USNI. Berger concluded that he and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday have engaged in discussions in regards to the plan, which would take place between 2023 and 2030.