Bigger Corps Won't Be Sending Most Of Its Marines Overseas

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Mideast Stars and Stripes
February 3, 2007
By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps has no plans to permanently assign more Marines to Okinawa as part of its efforts to get bigger, a Corps official said Friday.
Corps officials briefed reporters Friday on how the Corps plans to grow from about 180,000 Marines now to 202,000 Marines by fiscal 2011.
The Corps plans to have 184,000 Marines by the end of this fiscal year; 189,000 Marines by fiscal 2008; 194,000 Marines by fiscal 2009; 199,000 Marines by fiscal 2010; and 202,000 Marines by fiscal 2011, one Corps official said.
Even though the Corps is growing, it has no plans to send more Marines to bases outside the United States, such as Okinawa, officials said.
The Corps also has no plans right now to retain more Marines by using the stop-loss program, which allows each branch of the service to involuntarily keep servicemembers in the military for deployments, officials said.
However, one official noted that the Corps’ plans could change.
The Corps did institute a stop-loss order in January 2003 and announced it would lift the restrictions that May after having retained about 3,000 active-duty Marines and 443 reservists.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently instructed all branches of the service to reduce the use of the program.
Officials had no details about what new recruiting and retention incentives that the Corps plans to roll out over the next five years.
Marine Corps Recruiting Command’s budget has increased from a total of $176 million in fiscal 2006 to $228 million in fiscal 2007, one official said.
Last month, the Corps announced it was offering a bonus to entice Marines who have been off active duty for up to four years to return to the service.
Corps officials also stressed that the service would not lower standards for new recruits.