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2 minutes reading time (453 words)

Marines of the future

The Associated Press published an article about the Post War Marines: smaller, less focused on land war. (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_AFTER_IRAQ_MARINES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT)

I found the article interesting and informative.  I have been following General Amos and read some of his past statements regarding his vision for the future of the Marines as that has a direct bearing on an issue that is important to me: expansion of 29 Palms Marine Base and Johnson Valley OHV Area.

With the statements attributed to General Amos in the article, I see a potential for change in the active base structure maintained by the Marines. 

However, over the years, many Generals and Admirals have stated "visions" for the future of their segment of the military.  Many have resulted in no change while some have resulted in fundamental changes within the military.

The AP article begs two important questions.  1) Does General Amos have the support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to move forward with his vision?  2) And, does his vision correlate with the priorities of the current administration?

With regard to the degree of support from the Joint Chiefs (General Amos is one of them),  I would say it's unclear. What is clear, however, is that the end of the recent era of rapidly increasing defense budgets is likely to intensify inter-service rivalries, which might call into question the amount of support General Amos will have from the Army especially.

With regard to whether General Amos’ priorities are in sync with those of the administration, I would say yes, if we are referring to his desire to reorient the Marines toward the Asia-Pacific region. That is definitely an administration priority.

In the end, the mantra from the Marines in support of base expansion is the need to “Train as we fight.”  Reorientation of the mission of the Marines back to their roots as an amphibious assault force may, just may, be important.

While the AP article did not mention retreat from base expansion plans, it did underscore budget priorities will have an impact on the future.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement covering the proposed base expansion is expected to be released in January 2012.  Following signing of a Record of Decision, the formal request to withdraw land from public access and transfer it to the exclusive use of the military will be submitted for consideration by Congress.

Under congressional protocol, the proposal is expected to be subject to hearings before two or three congressional committees; House Defense Committee, House Appropriations Committee, and House Natural Resources Committee.  A similar process is expect within the Senate.

CA4WDC is committed to working with other recreation interest and affected groups to preserve access to Johnson Valley for recreation.

Note: E-mail correspondence with the author of the AP article was incorporated in this report.

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