Pentagon's budget nightmare: How each branch would handle sequester cuts

With the threat of a mandatory, across-the-board series of cuts known as sequestration looming over the Pentagon, each of the services has begun its worst-case-scenario planning. Here is where the cuts stand now:

4. Marines

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    Plans to cut the size of the Marine Corps could be affected by the sequester.
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The commandant of the Marine Corps joined in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, warning that the readiness of the force is “at a tipping point.”

That’s in large part because training throughout the force is projected to decrease by half in the wake of cuts.

At the same time, the overall size of the Marine Corps is decreasing from a wartime high of over 200,000 troops to roughly 182,000 in a couple of years.

For now, much of the planning for the force’s long-term way forward is on hold, amid looming threats of sequestration and the continuing resolution, says Maj. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the Marine Corps’ representative to the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the strategic document that the Pentagon produces once every four years.

Normally, work on the QDR would have already begun, but now “I think what we’re going to see is we’re going to wait until March, until that time frame, and we see what happens with the continuing resolution, with sequestration, with the debt ceiling,” says General McKenzie.

“And those decisions on those items are going to actually inform and I think shape the way the QDR is actually going to go.”

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