For Marine Corps, Readiness is Non-Negotiable

Unlike the Air Force, which has already begun shifting to a state of tiered readiness, the Marine Corps will accept nothing less than a fully capable and ready force, said Maj. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, USMC representative to the Quadrennial Defense Review. Speaking during a meeting with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., on March 26, McKenzie said the Marine Corps “values readiness above all other things” and “does not accept the concept of tiered readiness.” However, tiered readiness may be acceptable for other services, he said. “We think it’s an important discussion to have across the Department of Defense. In fact, it might be something that might be useful for the QDR as a whole to examine, but the Marine Corps is going to be a ready force,” he said. McKenzie said he expects the Marine Corps to reduce its end strength from a war-time high of 202,000 to 182,000. He noted, however, that marines might be willing to negotiate that end strength if maintaining it negatively impacted readiness.