Transcript: Testimony of U.S. Marine General James Amos on the impacts of defense sequestration

House Armed Services Committee hearing on “‪The Future of the Military Services and Consequences of Defense Sequestration‬” held on Nov. 2, 2011

Testimony of General James F. Amos, Commandant of United States Marine Corps:

General James F. Amos, Commandant of United States Marine Corps. IMAGE SOURCE: ArmedServices.House.gov

“Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith, fellow members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about your United States Marine Corps.

“As we face the challenging times ahead, the Marine Corps reaffirms its commitment to its traditional culture of frugality. You have my word that the Marine Corps will only ask for what it needs – not for what it might want.

“But before I begin, I cannot pass up the opportunity to briefly comment on your Marines in Afghanistan. We continue to provide the best-trained and equipped Marines to the fight. This will not change. Your Marines continue to apply relentless pressure on the enemy and are setting the conditions for success in the Helmand province today. They have made great progress. Our fully deployed Marines continue to have all they need with regards to equipment, training, and leadership to accomplish the mission. Thank you for your continued support.

“While our nation moves to reset its military in a post-Iraq and Afghanistan world, it does so in increasingly complex times. As we’ve explored ways across the department to adjust to a new period of fiscal austerity, there emerges a clear imperative that our nation retain a credible means of mitigating risks while we draw down the capacities and capabilities of our nation. Like an affordable insurance policy, at less than 7.8% of the total DOD budget, the Marine Corps and its Navy counterpart, Amphibious Forces, represent a very efficient and effective hedge against the nation’s most likely risks.

“We are a maritime nation. Like so much of the world, we rely on the maritime commons for the exchange of commerce and ideas. 95% of the world’s commerce travels by sea. 49% of the world’s oil travel through seven maritime choke points. Many depend on us to maintain freedom of movement on those commons. We continue to take that responsibility seriously.

“From the sea, we engage with and support our partners and our allies. We respond to crisis where we have no access rights or permissive facilities, and we represent our national interests around the world.

“When the nation pays the sticker price for its Marines embarked aboard amphibious ships, it buys the ability to remain fully deployed and fully engaged to assure our partners, confirm our alliances, deter our enemies, and represent our national interests.

“With that same force, our nation gains the ability to globally respond to unexpected crisis from humanitarian assistance [to] disaster relief operations to noncombatant evacuation operations to counter-piracy operations.

“That same force can quickly be reinforced to ensure access in the event of a major contingency. It could be dialed up or dialed down like a rheostat to be relevant in a broad spectrum of operations.

“As America’s principal crisis response force, we stand ready to respond to today’s crisis with today’s force today.

“Finally, the American people believe that when a crisis emerges, Marines will be present and will invariably turn in a performance that is dramatically and decisively successful – not most of the time but always. They possess a heartfelt belief that the Marine Corps is good for the young men and women of our country. In their view, the Marines are extraordinary adept to converting un-oriented youths into proud self-reliant stable citizens – citizens into whose hands the nation’s affairs may be entrusted. An investment in the Marine Corps continues to be an investment in the character of the young people of our nation.

“Thank you for the opportunity to offer this statement. I look forward to your questions.”

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