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Marine Corps to increase manpower by 3,000

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 2005118162926
Story by Cpl. Susan Smith

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (Jan. 18, 2005) -- The Marine Corps is expanding its end strength by 3,000 Marines.
The increase from 175,000 Marines to 178,000 Marines is directed in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act Fiscal Year 2005, passed Oct. 8, 2004.

"The committee believes that an increase in manpower is essential to the Marine Corps' ability to provide and sustain the force levels required of it by our national security strategy," reads the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services NDAA press release.

"The 3,000 Marines will be phased in over the next three years -- roughly one third each year," said Lt. Col. Tim Corley, head of the Future Operations Branch, Manpower Plans and Policy.

"Increasing the end strength by 3,000 will better position the Marine Corps to fight the global war on terror and decrease the amount of stress on the force," said Corley.

The Marine Corps is currently comprised of 24 infantry battalions; however, they are not staffed to 100 percent. Prior to deployment, infantry battalions must receive augments from other units to bring manning up.

"Approximately 2,000 of the 3,000-Marine increase will go toward bringing our 24 infantry battalions up to 100 percent of their wartime requirement," explained Frank Donahoe, deputy director of the Total Force Structure division at MCCDC. "The boost in infantry battalion manning will reduce the requirement for augments, build greater unit cohesion and improve training readiness."

The majority of the increase in Marines will come from accessions; therefore Marine Corps Recruiting Command will receive 425 to help recruit more Marines. Marine Corps Recruiting Command will receive 425 allocations -- 278 next fiscal year and the rest will be phased in from there. Foreign military training units will be formed to help train foreign militaries throughout the world to help our allies and friends train and establish a professional military.

"Each [Marine Expeditionary Force] will get 135 Marines to establish foreign military training units consisting primarily of infantry Marines," Donahoe said. "I MEF training units are scheduled to be fully operational in 2006, then II MEF in 2007 and III MEF in FY 2008."

Training and Education Command will get 120 new positions -- 60 Marines for various school instructors seats and 60 Marines for Security And Stability Operations training at March Air Force Base in California.

Due to emerging requirements, an additional 45 Marines will be assigned to operating force units for the CH53 Delta support requirements.

Also, an additional 20 Marines will fill Combat Service Support Element operating force units for contingency contracting billet requirements. "These are the Marines who write contracts for the units out there (in Iraq or Afghanistan) if they need to get support from the local economy," said Corley.

"The cost for the increase will be paid out of supplemental funding. We are requesting159 million in the FY 2005 supplemental," Corley explained. "The manpower costs beyond FY 2005 have not yet been exacted; however, they are expected to be slightly higher."

A decision has yet to be made on whether additional increases will be made. The NDAA FY 2005 directed the Corps to increase by 3,000, but left the decision to the Marine Corps for any further increases up to a limit of 9,000.

"We will continue to look at the emerging requirements and make decisions regarding any more increases based on those requirements," said Corley.

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