In the latest round of cost-savings announced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week, which included the cancellation of the amphibious Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, many media accounts reported the Marines had came out with the short end of the stick.
But that’s not how Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, tells it.
“The Marine Corps has come out [of the Gates’ budget review] in a pretty good position . . . even though you’d never know it by reading the newspapers,” Amos said, in an interview with National Defense magazine.
In fact, Amos said he had recommended Gates cancel the EFV.
“I did it because it was onerous,” he said, “and it was wearing us down.”
If the EFV program had not been shuttered, the Marines would have been spending about 30 percent of its procurement budget to acquire 535 EFVs, according to National Defense.
“Where I come from, that’s not a good budget,” Amos said.
But, even though the EFV was canceled, National Defense reports that doesn’t necessarily spell the end of the Marines’ sea-based mission, because USMC will be able to use unspent money to purchase a new vehicle.
The EFV decision follows a much broader effort to return the Marines to its more agile roots, by cutting back on unnecessary weapons systems.
But Amos stressed the efforts to cut back aren’t easy and could take years to fully realize.
“You don’t go out to the parking lot and say, all those vehicles no longer count,” he told National Defense.