The Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps warned Congress on Tuesday that he believes that the Marine Corps is in a dire readiness situation after 15 years of war and budget cuts, resulting in a lack of training and equipment, Stars and Stripes reports.
Gen. John Paxton told a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee that several components of the Corps would be unable to respond to an unexpected crisis, long regarded as a Marine specialty. Paxton highlighted aviation as one of the hardest hit areas.
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"I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now," Paxton said.
Paxton also said that approximately 80 percent of Marine aviation units do not have the number of aircraft that they need for training and operations.
There has been a number of accidents surrounding Marine Corp aircraft which Paxton said may be connected to the budget cuts and that the Corps would be investigating any possible connection.
Aviation was not alone, however, Paxton also warned about the drastically reduced ability of communications and intelligence units.
"In the event of a crisis, these degraded units could either be called upon to deploy immediately at increased risk to the force and the mission, or require additional time to prepare thus incurring increased risk to mission by surrendering the initiative to our adversaries," Paxton said. "This does not mean we will not be able to respond to the call … It does mean that executing our defense strategy or responding to an emergent crisis may require more time, more risk, and incur greater costs and casualties."
"All of our intelligence and communications battalions…would be unable to execute their full wartime mission requirements if called upon today," Paxton said.