I’d like to share a debate I had with a USMC Major a few weeks ago.
As my regular readers know, I’m against the constant increasing in our defense budget, and would like to see far more moderation in our interventionist policies. Furthermore, I feel that our country cannot continue to afford the kind of defense spending we currently conduct — particularly given the howling from those on the right about how “high” our tax rates are.
So, a few weeks ago, a Marine Major on his very popular blog complained of the planned force reduction of the Marine Corps by 20,000 Marines. I, of course, took objection to his complaints, since I felt they were too defensive of his own branch. (One of the major problems with ever cutting anything in the Dept of Defense is each branch and department feels they should NEVER be the one cut. That their mission is too important.)
I posted on Major Pain’s blog the initial points that:
- First, as an infantry Marine who served from 95-99, I’ve had plenty of buddies who stayed in tell me in recent years that standards were loosened too much in the rush to expand the Corps with both wars. (I’m a fan of a small, super elite force, ergo, I’m okay with it getting reduced back in size to what it was when I served.)
- Second, we have two great oceans and two friendly neighbors, as well as the world’s best Navy and Air Force. Let’s follow George Washington’s advice and do a better job minding our own business, while beefing our home and border security, since terrorism will remain a threat.
Major Pain replied with these points (summed up by me in much shorter fashion for readability):
- The Marine Corps is the smallest branch, and its forces are already rotating at a 1:1 rotation — meaning same time in the states as the amount of time deployed, which is a very high op tempo that is very hard on both the Marines and families.
- The majority of those fired will be infantry Marines who over the past 10+ years have accumulated unique combat experience that can only be obtained by actual combat from 2001 – present.
- The cuts will affect the economy, since 20,000 more folks will have to find jobs and lose a steady income. Furthermore, Major Pain made the point that there will be 20,000 fewer folks getting some of the best training and education a person can get — life experience that easily rivals most college educations, he argued.
- Finally, he said the Marine Corps only gets 6 cents on the dollar of defense spending, but plays an integral part of fighting a counter insurgency long term war. He argued that nukes or other less needed items should be cut before you cut well-trained and needed ground forces.
After reading these points and thinking on them, I came to the conclusion that Major Pain was correct. That cutting the Marine Corps would be a mistake, and this conclusion isn’t just me trying to defend the branch with which I served.
So, if you get a chance to interact with any of your elected officials, I think it’s worth making his points. The Marine Corps cost less, gets more done, and helps mold incredible American citizens (even if they just do four years and exit).
Stan R. Mitchell
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.
P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novels a success. I seriously couldn’t have done it with everyone’s support. I’m excited to say that Little Man, and the Dixon County War has gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here). My second novel, Sold Out, has also done well, also, going as high as No. 81 on the Amazon Paid List for the category of War (see here and here). Learn more about both books here.