The automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester will force the U.S. Marine Corps to "cut into bone" this year, the Corps' commandant warned in a letter to troops and their families over the weekend.
The cuts will leave the Corps with a shortfall of about $1.4 billion for the remainder of fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30, and approximately $2 billion annually through 2022, Gen. James F. Amos warned in the letter, according to Marine Times.
The paper reports that the letter is "thin on specifics" but shows the general's grave concern about the effect the cuts will have on Marines' active-duty and Reserve personnel, their families and the 20,000 civilians employed by the Corps in the United States and around the world.
"We are already a lean and frugal service," Gen. Amos wrote, "thus every reduction that we make from this point forward will cut into bone — we are beyond muscle."
Combat units already deployed to Afghanistan and those preparing to go will be held harmless from reductions to their staffing, training and equipment, according to Gen. Amos' letter.
But for units deploying elsewhere, "we will do our best" to ensure they're adequately resourced, he wrote.
Today, approximately 6,000 Marines remain in Afghanistan, down from a high of 20,000 after President Obama ordered a surge of forces there in 2009.
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