USMC Gen. Joseph Dunford, the service’s assistant commandant, will address a breakfast-hour forum on the future of the nation’s expeditionary force at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
The Marines are in the early stages of a shift back to their roots as being a quick-reaction force that deploys from the sea. But just what this self-described “middleweight force” will look like — and do in the future — remains somewhat unclear.
Dunford’s remarks are expected to shine a light on unresolved questions, such as:
• From where will the service slash to meet a first round of Defense Department budget cuts?
• Does America need a sea-to-shore deploying force for 21st century warfare?
• Can the Marines afford to design and field a new fleet of amphibious troop carriers, even as the annual Pentagon budget is shrinking?
• How small will the service get? Can it go much below 186,000 Leathernecks?