- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

U.S. Marines deploying to global hot spots may be forced to hitch a ride on foreign ships due to a shortage of U.S. amphibious vessels.

Brig. Gen. Norman Cooling, deputy commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, addressed the situation in an interview with USA Today.

“There’s no substitute for U.S. amphibious [vessels]. We’re looking at other options,” the officer told the newspaper on Sunday.

The U.S. is working with European allies like Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom to figure out ways to get Marines to crisis points as quickly as possible. The U.S. Navy says it needs 38 ships to fulfill its defense requirements but it only has 30 in its fleet.

“Allowing the continued atrophy of the Navy-Marine Corps team’s amphibious capacity is simply not an option given the national security challenges facing the United States and its allies,” Virginia Republican Randy Forbes, a member of the Armed Services Committee, told USA Today.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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