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Despite well over a decade of war, America will not be able to enjoy a peace dividend as US forces exit Afghanistan. According to a clear warning by General James Amos, US Marine Corps Commandant, on Tuesday at AEI, world events will force the US to refocus its resources and assets elsewhere as new crises occur. General Amos cautioned that America is facing a new normal where active involvement overseas will be a regular and unavoidable reality.
Yet, according to the Commandant, America does face an important choice. A forward military presence is the nation's insurance policy: American service members working abroad every day help deter aggression and underwrite the global economy. With further budget cuts looming in 2016 and beyond, General Amos said that America cannot afford to disengage with the world. As the Commandant explained, the US is the only nation with the will or the ability to help solve some of the world's most challenging problems.
General James F. Amos, US Marine Corps Commandant, has called the Marines "America's crisis response force." But ongoing budget cuts mean our 911 force may be much smaller in the future, and while the Marine Corps is set to shrink in coming years, threats to American interests are unlikely to experience a similar decline.
How will the Marine Corps balance competing priorities in capacity, capability, recruiting, and retention and readiness as it becomes increasingly likely that near-sequestration-level budgets are here to stay? What will the consequences be for men and women in uniform and for American interests abroad? Please join the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies and General Amos for a conversation on these questions and more.
Mackenzie Eaglen, AEI
General James F. Amos, US Marine Corps
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General James F. Amos assumed the duties of Commandant of the US Marine Corps on October 22, 2010. He has held command at all levels from Lieutenant Colonel to Lieutenant General. General Amos has served numerous tours with distinction, including as Chief of Staff of US Joint Task Force Noble during the air campaign over Serbia, and he was in command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing during Operations IRAQI FREEDOM I and II from 2006–08. He previously served as Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations, and from 2008-2010, he served as the 31st Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow in the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI. She has worked on defense issues in the US Congress — both in the House of Representatives and Senate — and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She specializes in defense strategy, budget, military readiness, and the defense industrial base. In 2010, Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess the Pentagon's major defense strategy. A prolific writer on defense-related issues, she has also testified before Congress.