back in the fight. We have a maintenance backlog right
now and, as the fiscal environment continues to get
tighter and tighter, that maintenance backlog will
increase and that hurts our readiness, so we watch that
carefully. We are working with the Navy on things like
maritime prepositioning shipping squadrons.
We already have one [squadron] that is at ROS 5
[Reduced Operating Status, five days, or five-day activation time] and there are discussions about, in the
current fiscal environment, whether we should do
another squadron. We are fairly adamant that that is
not the thing to do either fiscally or operationally. We
want to keep those squadrons alive and well. That is a
way to preposition gear and make them ready and
responsive around the world for fights that may happen, contingencies that may happen and what the
combatant commanders need.
What would you like the average American to
know about your Marine Corps?
PAXTON: Probably three things. First off, the average
American expects, as I said, whether it is 1775 or 1952,
they expect their Marines to be ready and, regardless of
the time, regardless of the call, I want to reassure them
that today’s Marine Corps is ready. The Marine that we
have, regardless of occupational specialty or time in grade
or time in service, is ready to do the nation’s bidding. It’s
a fight tonight force. It always has been, always will be.
The second thing that I would ask is that your read-
ership and those perhaps not in uniform or outside,
take care of our Marines and, indeed, take care of our
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, too. We have veterans in
need of employment and we have wounded, ill and
injured in need of support. The nation has been good
to us for the last 12 years with both the support to the
wounded, ill and injured and to the hiring program,
and I would ask that, as we move more and more away
from Afghanistan, that they stay focused on that.
My third message is that all this is based on what we
often hope is a steady stream of economic support, and
I would be remiss if I didn’t say that sequestration
hurts us because it’s a meat-ax approach to business,
and it forces us to make unsound business decisions
based on the fiscal environment. n