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Marines: Personnel not weapons to be cut

Dec. 8, 2011 at 10:35 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps will cut costs by reducing troops rather than weapons programs, a military official said.

Assistant Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford said the Marines will meet debt-ceiling mandated budget cuts by reducing troops from 202,000 to 186,800, The Hill reported Thursday.

The Defense Department has been ordered to make $350 billion in cuts in a decade. Military officials have said they can make the cuts without hurting national security.

"In terms of procurement, we have protected that," Dunford told The Hill. That means plans for high-profile programs like the V-22 tiltrotor aircraft, a variant of the F-35 fighter and a new amphibious personnel craft remain on track, the newspaper said

Dunford, however, warned steeper budget cuts proposed by some lawmakers would require "difficult decisions" for the Marines.

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