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Posted: 3/15/2005 5:19:16 PM EDT
March 21, 2005

Corps may refine list of units to be cut

By Gordon Lubold
Times staff writer

Corps leaders have all but finalized which units will be eliminated in a sweeping reorganization of the force for the war on terrorism, but officials will continue to fine-tune the list, a top Marine official said.

Plans announced in February call for the deactivation of a number of active and Reserve units to free up manpower for the creation of new units, including two additional active infantry battalions, light armored reconnaissance battalions and more.

The Corps will likely stick to current plans for the additions and subtractions but may make some revisions, said Lt. Gen. Jan Huly, deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations.

“There’s a couple we might go back and take a look at,” Huly said in a March 10 interview with defense reporters.

For the most part, though, the changes the Corps has in mind are sound, he said: “I think they were pretty good decisions.”

Meanwhile, the Corps is conducting a comprehensive inventory of equipment as the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based I Marine Expeditionary Force returns from Iraq and II MEF deploys from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to take the helm in the war zone. Part of the effort is intended locate all the equipment and determine its condition. Some equipment will be fixed and put back into rotation, ;while other pieces will be overhauled at the Corps’ maintenance depots.

Much will have to be replaced, Huly said, without elaborating on specifics.

“I think it’s going to be a little of everything,” he said. “Everything is being used a lot more than we originally planned.”

Huly also discussed the Corps’ commitment to U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla., noting that the fate of Marine Corps Special Operations Detachment 1 remains unclear. Senior officials have been reluctant to say much publicly about its future.

Commandant Gen. Mike Hagee said in February that he was working on a proposal with other defense officials to “bring SOCOM and the Marine Corps closer together,” without providing details.

Huly declined to comment on what contribution the Corps might make.

The three-star also discussed the current pre-deployment training routine, noting that the existing pace of operations means some exercises will remain shelved for now.Under a typical deployment schedule prior to the war in Iraq, a Marine Expeditionary Unit would run through the usual laundry list of training for specific potential missions. Now that the “at-home time” for units has been compressed to support war-zone rotations, Huly said there are fewer opportunities for some “nice-to-have” training.

“The training is more focused on exactly what they’re going to do because we have a focused mission,” he said.

If it could, the Corps would send more troops to do more security and cooperation exercises for combatant commanders around the world.

“Now, we don’t have the luxury of being able to participate in as many of those,” Huly said.
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