Last week I wrote about the fact that Navy SEALs are forced to share combat rifles, are short on live ammo for training, and are purchasing their own gear.  This week, assistant commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General John Paxton, told Congress that he does not believe the Marines are ready for another war.

The Stars and Stripes reports:

If the Marines were called today to respond to an unexpected crisis, they might not be ready, a top Marine general told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Gen. John Paxton, assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, testified to lawmakers that the Marines could face more casualties in a war and might not be able to deter a potential enemy.

“I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now,” he said, citing a lack of training and equipment.

Paxton, along with the vice chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, spoke to the Senate committee on the readiness challenges facing each service after 15 years of war and recent budget cuts.

If you are not familiar with General Paxton, please take a look at the following video.  I first saw this a few years ago and really loved his style and his obvious commitment to the Corps and to his country.

Stars and Stripes continues:

For the Marines, [General Paxton] said units at home face the most risk because of fewer training opportunities with the best equipment deployed with forces overseas. And it would be these undertrained home units that would be called to respond to an unexpected crisis.

“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.”

Asked about the increased number of aviation training casualties and the correlation to spending cuts, General Paxton responded, “we’re worried.”

The Stars and Stripes reports:

Paxton was repeatedly questioned about the Marines’ ability to respond to contingencies after the high number of training accidents its aviation squadrons faced in the last year. The collision of two Marine Corps’ CH-53 Super Stallions off the coast of Hawaii in January raised questions whether budget cuts were leading to a higher number of pilot and crew deaths.

On Tuesday, Paxton said the service is looking at whether there is a connection.

“We are concerned about an increasing number of aircraft mishaps and accidents,” he said. “We’re looking to see if there’s a linear correlation. We know historically that if you don’t have the money and you don’t have the parts and you don’t have the maintenance, then you fly less. We call it ‘sets and reps’ – you need sets and repetitions to keep proficiency up there. So we truly believe if you fly less and maintain slower there’s a higher likelihood of accidents. So we’re worried.”

Here’s another video of General Paxton addressing the 2015 “If not me, then who” gala:

If General Paxton is worried, I am worried.


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