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Amos: Budget cuts threaten Marines’ ‘survivability’

By the end of this year, more than half of the Marine Corps' units will be below "minimal acceptable levels of readiness for deployment to combat" as a result of military spending limits currently in place, Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos said Tuesday.

The Pentagon is operating on a continuing resolution that holds defense spending to 2012 levels through March 27, when Congress must pass a 2013 defense appropriations bill or extend the resolution.

Already, the Marine Corps has cut back on equipment purchases, maintenance and modernization, and training exercises, Gen. Amos told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Even more troubling for Marines' readiness, he said, are the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts called sequestration set to begin March 1. That would force the Pentagon to cut $42 billion from its budget by Sept. 30 and as much as $500 billion from its 10-year spending plan.

Under sequestration, the Marine Corps' "qualitative combat edge will be severely eroded," Gen. Amos said, adding that Marines and other service members will be saddled with inadequate training, degraded equipment and "reduced survivability."

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