The Senate Appropriations Committee on Nov. 10 ― the Marine Corps’ birthday ― proposed a massive personnel cut for the Corps; one going beyond any other current proposal.
The Marine Corps is currently composed of roughly 186,000 active-duty Marines. In February, the Marine Corps budget request proposed a cut of 2,258 enlisted Marines along with a slight increase in the officer corps of 158 Marines.
The House Committee on Appropriations’ proposed version of the 2021 defense funding bill fell in line with what the Marine Corps requested, cutting the size of the Marine Corps by just over 2,000 Marines, bringing it down to a force of 184,100 Marines.
But the Senate proposal takes the cuts even further, proposing the active duty Marine Corps should be cut by more than 6,000 Marines.
In the Senate version of the appropriations bill the Marine Corps would be reduced to only 180,000 Marines. This would leave the Marine Corps with its smallest end strength since 2006, when it had 178,477 active-duty Marines, according to the Marine Corps History Division.
Marine Corps commandant Gen. David Berger has promised larger personnel cuts as he sees a future with static or even decreasing defense budgets being passed by Congress.
The cuts are meant to free up money in the Corps for the sweeping change as it prepares for a future war against a near-peer opponent.
Neither proposed bill changes the current size of the Marine Corps Reserves.
The Senate and House will now have to reconcile the two proposed bills before the final defense appropriations bill can be passed into law.