Marine Corps/DoD News

Marine Corps Reserve Association

 

Marine Forces Reserve Report 2 Dec 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVgyR9bgUWU&feature=player_embedded
  • 12 Jul 2014 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
     WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) released the following statement applauding the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for upholding a district court’s ruling that $1.75 billion of Iranian money should be distributed to the families of the victims of the 1983 bombing of a Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon:

     “I applaud the appeals court for upholding this ruling in favor of the families whose loved ones were tragically killed as a result of an act of violent terrorism in which the government of Iran played a vital role,” said Congressman Jones.  “While no amount of money will ease the pain caused by the loss these individuals have suffered, this ruling is a small token of justice and reiterates the fact that acts of violence against American service members cannot be executed without consequences.” 

    The money in question is currently being held in an account in New York.  Congressman Jones has long advocated for justice for the families of the victims and has supported bipartisan legislation to that end.

  • 10 Jun 2014 8:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BELIZE CITY undefined Marine combat engineers are teaming with airmen and members of the Belize Defence Force to build schoolhouses and hospital buildings during Exercise New Horizons.  Members of Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, a Massachusetts-based reserve unit, completed construction of a two-room schoolhouse addition here, one of Central America’s largest cities. Now they’re working on another addition at a nearby five-room schoolhouse, including a kitchen and bathroom.

    Brig. Gen. David Jones, commander of the Belize Defence Force, said his engineers learn a lot from working with American combat engineers. His soldiers, however, may be called on not only to build new infrastructure, but also to destroy infrastructure that’s being used illegally. That can include busting up a runway that traffickers are using to move illicit drugs by air, he said.  In turn, the Marines are learning new techniques from the Belizeans, said Staff Sgt. Matthew Houle, the New Horizons site foreman. For example, they taught the Marines a new way to finish interior and exterior walls called parging. 

    “It’s a concrete mix they put on the outside of the buildings here undefined similar to what we do with stucco,” Houle said. “It gives them a nice smooth finish.”

    Chief Warrant Officer 3 Patrick Robb, the New Horizons site officer-in-charge, said in addition to the new techniques they’ve picked up, it has been good for the Marines to observe the resourcefulness of the local troops. Instead of receiving materials like ready-mix concrete, they’ll mix what they need with what’s found at the site. Houle said he has seen them weld scrap metal into just about anything they need.

    Maj. Shaun Thomson, the New Horizons civil affairs officer, with 1st Civil Affairs Group out of Camp Pendleton, California, has been coordinating the delivery of donated materials to fill the schoolhouses once the combat engineers have completed them. Non-governmental organizations in the local area are donating chairs and desks to fill the schoolhouses so they can be used immediately. 

    Since arriving in April, the Marines have been working nearly non-stop to complete their work. School has been in session while they’ve been doing the construction, and the Marines sometimes stop what they are doing to play sports with the kids on their break, Robb said. They’ve also interacted with many other Belizeans, who flock to the schools on weekends because they serve as community centers for the locals, he said. 

    Air Force Col. Daniel Pepper, the New Horizons commander, said the exercise has been a great opportunity for the Marine Corps and Air Force to work jointly, instead of only coming together when a crisis occurs or in response to hostilities around the globe.

    “We don’t often get to do this in a permissive environment,” Pepper said. “We’ve been in combat since 2001, so it’s great to have the ability to work in a permissive environment with different techniques.” New Horizons has brought together a variety of military occupational specialties, Pepper said. But throughout the exercise he has seen the troops work together to get the job done, regardless of their MOS. “The leadership that I’ve seen in the field amongst all our services has really been excellent,” he said. 

    Working jointly has been an important experience, Robb said. Just as the Belizeans do things differently from Marines, so does the Air Force, he said. With the likelihood of future operations being joint, it’s important that they speak each other’s lingo, he added.

    It’s also good to utilize reservists for these types of missions, Thomson said, giving them a chance to get away from their base and out into the world.

  • 23 May 2014 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve, and the Coast Guard Reserve announced a decrease in activated National Guard members and reservists this week, while the Navy Reserve and the Air National Guard announced an increase of activated National Guard members and reservists. The net collective result is a decrease of 485 activated National Guard members and reservists in comparison to last week.

    At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 21,294; Navy Reserve, 3,292; Marine Corps Reserve, 1,088; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 6,749; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 295. This brings the total National Guard and reserve personnel who have been activated to 32,718, including both units and individual augmentees.

    A cumulative roster of all National Guard and reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found online at: http://www.defense.gov/pubs/Mobilization-Weekly-Report-140930.pdf.

     

     
  • 15 Apr 2014 7:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the Department of Defense released a report that documents the damaging cuts to military forces, modernization, and readiness that will be required if defense budgets are held at sequester-levels in the years beyond fiscal 2015.  This report fulfills a commitment made by Secretary Hagel to provide details on the effects of these undesirable budget cuts.

    As the report says, sequester level budgets would result in continued force-level cuts across the military services.  The Army would be reduced to 420,000 active duty soldiers along with 315,000 in the Guard and 185,000 in the Reserve.  The Marine Corps would drop to 175,000 active duty personnel.  The Air Force would have to eliminate its entire fleet of KC-10 tankers and shrink its inventory of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  The Navy would be forced to mothball 6 destroyers and retire an aircraft carrier and its associated air wing, reducing the carrier fleet to ten.

    Modernization would also be significantly slowed.  Compared to plans under the fiscal 2015 budget, the department would buy eight fewer ships in the years beyond fiscal 2016-- including one fewer Virginia-class submarines and three fewer DDG-51 destroyers – and would delay delivery of the new carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) by two years.  The services would acquire 17 fewer Joint Strike Fighters, five fewer KC-46 tankers, and six fewer P-8A aircraft.

    There would also be sharp cutbacks in many smaller weapons programs and in funding for military construction. In addition, the department would invest about $66 billion less in procurement and research funding compared with levels planned in the fiscal 2015 budget.  The report notes that sequester-level budgets would worsen already existing readiness shortfalls across the force and delay needed training to prepare the joint force for full-spectrum operations.

    Overall, sequester-level cuts would result in a military that is too small to fully meet the requirements of our strategy, thereby significantly increasing national security risks both in the short- and long-term.  As Secretary Hagel has said, under sequester-level budgets, we would be gambling that our military will not be required to respond to multiple major contingencies at the same time.

    For full report click: http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2014_Estimated_Impacts_of_Sequestration-Level_Funding_April.pdf

  • 15 Apr 2014 9:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Following backlash from his statements in front of the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on personnel April 9, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett is working to clarify his position in a written letter to Marines.

    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20140411/NEWS/304110043/Sgt-Maj-Barrett-writes-open-letter-Marines-following-backlash

  • 08 Apr 2014 8:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    With a rapidly shrinking force and fewer amphibious ships available, the Marine Corps is questioning whether it can support the strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific region.  “We are on our way …. to a less than a 300 hundred ship Navy. We are on our way to a 175,000 man Marine Corps. These are the messages we are trying to take to Congress,” Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said April 7 in a speech at the Navy League’s Sea, Air, Space conference at National Harbor, Md.

    “Do we have enough people and enough ships to do it?” he asked of the Asia-Pacific strategic shift.  Budget pressures will bring the service’s end strength down from 202,000 during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to the current goal of 186,800. However, with cuts under sequestration scheduled to return after 2015 the force will shrink to 175,000.

    Meanwhile, the service said it needs 54 amphibious assault ships to do its job. Current plans call for only 38, but that is likely to shrink to 33, he said. Operational availability of those ships continues to go down as they age, and they spend more time in maintenance yards. “And the demands on a diminished fleet keep going up,” he said.


    Paxton recalled Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines last year. Three out of four of the Western Pacific region’s amphibious vessels were undergoing repairs. The initial efforts to provide assistance were carried out by  V-22 Ospreys and KC-130 refueling aircraft. It took two weeks to get the ships out of the yard and to sail to the hard hit areas.

    “Filipinos were living and dying based on V-22 and KC-130s … Think of the difference it would have made if we had more ships,” Paxton said.
    In another example, Paxton said when the Marine Corps was called upon to assist the embassy in South Sudan, the closest available Marine Air-Ground Task Force was in a “Northern Mediterranean” nation, which he did not disclose.

    Two V-22 Ospreys and two C-130Js were able to leave that country, fly across the Mediterranean, along the Red Sea to Djibouti, and then on to their destination with a total of three air-to-air refuelings and two ground stops. They flew 3,175 miles in 15 and half hours, which he said was “unheard of.” But this was made necessary by a lack of presence in the region and the fact that nearby Marine Corps forces were “disaggregated” carrying out various missions.

    As far as fighter squadrons are concerned, they once had 12 to 14 aircraft available. Now, they are almost routinely 12. “We project next year may only have eight on the line. At least four of those 12 aircraft are going to be in for phased maintenance,” he said.  “When you have the 12 you’re supposed to have, and you only got eight on the line, and you still have a full squadron’s worth of pilots, the training doesn’t happen,” he said. Forward deployed units have all the necessary aircraft, “but what happens to the bench?” he asked.

    “If they are not ready and there is a major conflict, the nation must ask itself what kind of risk it is willing to take,” Paxton said.  “With the dollars we have, and the ships we have and the aircraft we have, and the people we have, are we going to be ready to do what we need to do?” he asked.
  • 07 Apr 2014 8:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Navy will commission its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Coronado (LCS 4), Saturday, April 5, during a ceremony at Naval Air Station, North Island in Coronado, Calif. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Susan Ring Keith, a long-time leader in the San Diego community, will serve as ship's sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Keith gives the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

    "The commissioning of USS Coronado is a celebration of the history of the great city of Coronado and its lasting relationship with our Navy and Marine Corps. The sailors aboard LCS 4 will bring this mighty warship to life with their skill and dedication, honoring her namesake and our nation for years to come," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "When she sets sail for distant shores, Coronado, and ships like her, will have a vital role maintaining freedom of the seas, and providing naval presence in the right place, all the time."

    Cmdr. Shawn Johnston, a native of North Carolina, is the commanding officer of the ship's Gold Crew and will lead the core crew of 40 officers and enlisted personnel. The 2,790-ton Coronado was built by Austal USA Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala. The ship is 417 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 100 feet, and a navigational draft of 15 feet. The ship uses two gas turbine and two diesel engines to power four steerable water jets to speeds in excess of 40 knots.

    Designated LCS 4, Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship and the second of the Independence variant. Named for Coronado, Calif., it is the third Navy ship to bear the name. USS Coronado (LCS 4) will be outfitted with reconfigurable mission packages and focus on a variety of mission areas including mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.  The first USS Coronado (PF 38) was a patrol frigate and served as a convoy escort during World War II. The subsequent Coronado (AGF 11) was designed as an Austin Class Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD) and was reconfigured to be an Auxiliary Command ship (AGF) in 1980 and subsequently served as the commander, Middle East Force flagship, then the commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship in the Mediterranean, and subsequently the commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet flag ship in the Eastern Pacific Ocean prior to decommissioning in 2006.

  • 13 Mar 2014 7:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Secretary Sebelius:

    We write to you regarding the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) ongoing work regarding the historic water contamination at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and its designation as a National Priority List site. We remain significantly concerned about many aspects of ATSDR's ongoing work on this very serious matter. 

    We have significant concerns regarding ATSDR's critical relationship with the Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel (CAP.) This panel has proven invaluable in assisting with research for past ATSDR studies and is a vital link to the affected community. In the past few months, we have heard growing concerns about the level of communication from ATSDR to the CAP.  While we understand that the most recent leadership change at ATSDR contributed somewhat to a delay in scheduling the quarterly CAP meeting at ATSDR, we remain concerned that ATSDR has not been consulting openly and in a spirit of collaboration with current CAP members and has in some instances displayed a lack of urgency in regard to filling vacancies on the CAP.

    Furthermore, since the departure ofthe last permanent Director of ATSDR, there has been what we see as a growing lack of trust and cooperation between ATSDR and the CAP. This is concerning to us because the CAP is the formal forum designed for the affected community to express its concerns and ATSDR has previously stated that the agency needs to have a trusting and constructive relationship with the CAP. For reasons we cannot yet discern, the desire for open communication seems to have waned within ATSDR in recent months. For example, in Dr. Frieden's September 16, 2013 letter to us, he stated that "ATSDR plans to revise the 1997 Public Health Assessment (PHA) based on available data and input from the Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel." We are dismayed that the CAP has not yet been consulted on there-issuance of the PHA for Camp Lejeune or included in the discussions underway at ATSDR regarding the PHA.

    It is our sincere expectation that repairing relationships with the CAP will be a top priority for Dr. Tanja Popovic and that Dr. Frieden will ensure the community continues to have a voice in future ATSDR activities related to Camp Lejeune.

    Another significant area of concern pertains to what we see as a compelling case for ATSDR to conduct a cancer incidence study of the population at Camp Lejeune. Last month, we met with Dr. Tanja Popovic, Acting Director of ATSDR, regarding the recent studies her agency released and a cancer incidence study. Such a study would be critically important to help Lejeune veterans and the American people get the best possible scientific understanding of the contamination that occurred at the base. While we were very pleased that Dr. Popovic committed to responding to us within four weeks regarding the way forward on a cancer incidence study of the population at Camp Lejeune, we were also dismayed that Dr. Popovic took the position that ATSDR does not have the authority or expertise to conduct a cancer incidence study. Conducting public health studies ofthis nature on National Priority List sites was precisely the reason the agency was created.

    The water contamination at Camp Lejeune is likely the largest environmental contamination in the history of this nation. It is the responsibility of our government to provide a full and complete account of what happened. Therefore, we are concerned that Dr. Popovic suggested a non-governmental organization would be better suited to assess the feasibility of a cancer incidence study and possibly conduct the study itself. Given the nature and history of this contamination and the disturbing findings of recent studies released by ATSDR, both Congress and the public reasonably expect the government to conduct this type of study and for your department to leverage its resources toward that end. Furthermore, we respectfully request answers to the following questions outlined below.

    1) The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act of 1980 states that the Administrator of ATSDR shall "in cases of public health emergencies caused or believed to be caused by exposure to toxic substances, provide medical care and testing to exposed individuals, including... epidemiological studies, or any other assistance appropriate under the circumstances." Does the agency believe this statutory authority to conduct epidemiological studies is sufficient to conduct a cancer incidence study on the population at Camp Lejeune? Please provide a detailed response.

    2) Does ATSDR have access to sufficient gov't personnel and resources to fulfill the agency's statutory obligation to conduct epidemiological studies that are warranted given that serious exposures occurred and the agency's own studies indicated that health effects have been observed? If not, please provide a detailed response of the resources the agency needs or provide us with resources resident in other agencies within your department.

    3) Has ATSDR previously worked with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on public health studies, including a cancer incidence study? If so, please provide a list of specific studies on which the two agencies have collaborated, as well as a description of the inter-agency process used in these ....for full letter click here

    The letter was signed by:

    Senator Kay Hagan, Richard Burr  Congressman Dingell

     

  • 06 Mar 2014 7:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today the president released his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request for the Department of Defense. This defense budget contains the recommendations I announced last week and is responsible, balanced and realistic. It matches our strategy to our resources.

    This budget also supports - and is informed by - our updated defense strategy outlined in the recently completed 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which is also being released today. This QDR defines the historic transition unfolding throughout our defense enterprise. As we move off the longest continuous war footing in our nation's history, this QDR explains how we will adapt, reshape, and rebalance our military for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

    The QDR prioritizes America's highest security interests by focusing on three strategic pillars: defending the homeland against all threats; building security globally by projecting U.S. influence and deterring aggression; and remaining prepared to win decisively against any adversary should deterrence fail.
    The QDR outlines key missions of our strategy - including the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, sustaining our security commitments in the Middle East and Europe, and building partnership capacity throughout the world.
    The QDR highlights the critical capabilities - enduring and emerging - the military will need to operate across the full spectrum of conflict - including special operations, space, cyber, missile defense as well as certain conventional, high-intensity capabilities we should emphasize in today's fast moving security environment. It also recognizes the emerging technological capabilities of adversaries that will present new threats and challenges to the United States.
    This year's QDR also considers resource constraints. These continued fiscal constraints cannot be ignored. It would be dishonest and irresponsible to present a QDR articulating a strategy disconnected from the reality of resource constraints. A strategy must have the resources for its implementation.
    Today's world requires a strategy that is neither budget driven nor budget blind. We need a strategy that can be implemented with a realistic level of resources, and that is what this QDR provides. This QDR clearly articulates the consequences - and risks - of budgetary constraints. In particular, it shows that sequestration-level cuts would result in unacceptable risks to our national security if they are re-imposed in Fiscal Year 2016, as is currently the law. The QDR shows that continued sequestration requires dangerous reductions to readiness and modernization.
     
    It would mean that DoD would be unable to fulfill its defense strategy, and it would put at risk America's traditional role as a guarantor of global
    security. That's why the president's budget plan adds $115 billion above sequestration levels. These additional resources will be required to meet the president's defense strategy, although we will still be assuming higher risk for certain military missions because of continued fiscal constraints. It would have been irresponsible not to request these additional resources.
    No strategy or budget is risk-free. Even the largest defense budgets have limits - as does our knowledge and ability to predict the future. But the strategy articulated by the QDR is one that department leaders and I believe is the right strategy given the reality we face.
    There are difficult decisions ahead, but there are also opportunities. We have an opportunity to reshape our defense enterprise to be better prepared, positioned, and equipped to secure America's interests in the years ahead.
  • 06 Mar 2014 7:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    President Barack Obama today sent Congress a proposed defense budget of $495.6 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs in fiscal year 2015.

    The request is $0.4 billion less than the enacted FY 2014 appropriation and is consistent with the current budget caps. The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative -- a government-wide initiative -- requests an additional $26 billion in FY 2015 to address significant readiness and modernization challenges. In the years from FY 2016 to FY 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) is asking for funding that exceeds the current budget caps by a total of approximately $115 billion in order to meet defense requirements.

    This DoD budget request supports the strategy in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which is being released in conjunction with the budget request. The 2014 QDR builds upon and updates the strategy submitted in January 2012, “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” preparing for the future by rebalancing our defense efforts in a period of fiscal challenges.
     
    The DoD budget request reflects a balance between readiness, capacity, and capability. It seeks efficiencies, including another round of base realignment and closure, and slower growth in military compensation in order to free up funds to minimize cuts in force size and readiness. Even with these initiatives, the force gets smaller and modernization programs are streamlined under this budget – with changes made in a manner that reflects the new QDR. The net result is a military force that can fulfill the defense strategy, but with some increased levels of risk. The department can manage these risks under the President’s 2015 Budget plan, but risks would grow significantly if as current law requires sequester-level cuts return in 2016, if proposed reforms are not accepted, or if uncertainty over budget levels continues.
    Commenting on the DoD request for FY 2015, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges, the dangerous world we live in, and the American military’s unique and indispensable role in this country and in today’s volatile world.”
    For Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) operations in FY 2015, the budget only includes a placeholder of $79 billion, an amount equal to the request for FY 2014. Once conditions permit a decision about the scope of the enduring U.S. presence in Afghanistan, a formal budget amendment will be proposed to specify and fund OCO needs in FY 2015.
    The QDR advances a broader strategic framework emphasizing three pillars - protect the homeland, to deter and defeat threats to the United States and to mitigate the effects of potential attacks and natural disasters; build security globally, to preserve regional stability, deter adversaries, support allies and partners, and cooperate with others to address common security challenges; and project power and win decisively, to defeat aggression, disrupt and destroy terrorist networks, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
    The QDR highlights the imperative for institutional reform to implement this strategy. Controlling cost growth and generating greater efficiencies will allow the DoD to maximize its readiness and combat power over the long term.  “This QDR defines the historic transition unfolding throughout our defense enterprise. As we move off the longest continuous war footing in our nation's history, this QDR explains how we will adapt, reshape, and rebalance our military for the challenges and opportunities of the future,” said Hagel.
    “Today's world requires a strategy that is neither budget driven nor budget blind. We need a strategy that can be implemented with a realistic level of resources, and that is what this QDR provides,” said Hagel.
    The QDR establishes DoD’s force planning construct to ensure U.S. forces are sized to conduct key types of operations in overlapping timeframes.
    “We have throughout my 40-year career always adapted to changes in the security environment and changes in the budget environment," said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.
    “This QDR is a pragmatic reflection of who we can and must be for the nation. We must do more than talk about institutional reform. We must do more than seek innovation in organizational designs, concepts, strategies, and plans. We must do more than prioritize our commitment to the development our people. We must actually achieve these things,” said Dempsey.
    Given the major changes in our nation’s security and fiscal environment, the QDR requires that DoD rebalance the joint force in several important areas to prepare for the future, specifically shifting the focus toward greater emphasis on the full spectrum of possible operations; sustain our presence and posture abroad to better protect U.S. national security interests; and adjust the balance of capability, capacity, and readiness with the joint force.
    Highlights of the proposed DoD budget are outlined below and in the attached chart. The entire fiscal 2015 budget proposal is available at www.budget.mil. The department’s “FY 2015 Budget Request Overview Book,” can be downloaded there as well. Key highlights of the DoD 2014 QDR are outlined in the attached summary and fact sheets.   
     
    For more information and to view the entire fiscal 2014 QDR and budget proposal, please visit www.defense.gov.
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