Cut in Strength Necessary To Maintain Corps Readiness
(L. Edgar Prina in The San Diego Union [Copley News Service], 6 July 1979)
General Robert H. Barrow, the new commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps, on 5 July, said the Corps is being forced to reduce its strength by 10,000 in order to obtain funds needed to maintain combat readiness.
In his first interview since succeeding General Louis Wilson as leader of the Crops, Barrow told Copley News Service the size of the proposed personnel cut was not arrived at without much discussion.
“We’re doing it out of desperation,” he said. “We are hurting so badly in operations and maintenance and procurement (budget accounts) for current readiness. We have to help ourselves.”
Marine Corps strength stood at 183,184 as of 31 May, the latest available figure. A final strength of 189,000 has been proposed to Congress for fiscal year 1980. The 10,000 reduction, if approved by the Defense Department and Congress, would mean a strength of 179,000 at the end of 1981.
During the interview, Barrow said he was told by aides that a friend of his on capitol Hill was "absolutely alarmed” about the prospects.