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Sgt. Maj. Barrett writes open letter to Marines following backlash

Apr. 11, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett signs an open letter to Marines April 11.
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett signs an open letter to Marines April 11. (Hope Hodge Seck/Staff)
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Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett signs an open letter to Marines April 11. (Hope Hodge Seck/Staff)

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.

The SASC lawmakers called the hearing to express concern over how reductions in pay and benefits could result in lowered morale and retention, leaving the Pentagon to field a “hollow” force.

In response, Barrett gave the impression that lowered pay and benefits would actually improve, rather than degrade, the good order and discipline of Marines.

“I truly believe it will raise discipline,” he said. “You’ll have better spending habits. You won’t be so wasteful.”

Barrett then made an appeal to equipment over benefits.

“If we don’t get a hold of slowing the growth, we will become an entitlement-based, a health care provider-based Corps, and not a war fighting organization.”

The backlash was swift, as Marines and their family members heard the news and took to social media and blogs to voice concern and outright criticism.

Less than 48 hours later, Barrett responded to queries from the Marine Corps Times with an exclusive interview and a copy of a public letter to Marines, which will be published on official Marine Corps social media later today.

In the letter, posted in its entirety on the left, Barrett qualifies that “no one wants less” benefits while also doubling down on the idea that entitlement growth threatens to crowd out development and acquisition of “warfighting capabilities.”

Marine Corps Times also sat down with Barrett on Friday. The interview will be published in a Q&A format in this week’s paper April 14, as well as on Prime.

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