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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Commandant to Marines: ‘Period of Austerity has Just Begun’

Under the looming shadow of sequestration cuts, the Marine Corps' top officer delivered a dire message to Marines, sailors and civilians.

"The period of austerity has just begun. In fact, we can expect lean times for the foreseeable future," Gen. James F. Amos said in a joint video message Thursday with Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Michael P. Barrett.

The corps' training and operations are funded through September, but that doesn't remove the sequestration cuts, Amos added.

"Unless changes the law, those deep sequestration cuts will be with us for the next nine years," he said.

"Center" of the commandants concerns are upcoming furloughs for the corps' civilian workers.

The Department of Defense has announced that it will reduce them from 22 days to no more than 14 days for the remainder of the fiscal year, he said, adding that furlough notices have been delayed until May and will have an effective date as early as mid-June.

"Our core senior leadership works this furlough matter daily in an effort to avoid it completely," he said.

Immediate concerns, such as training, operations, have been addressed and logistic depots, such as the one in Barstow, will remain open to receive battle-worn equipment from deployments, he said.

Barrett told Marines to conserve tax dollars while remaining "disciplined war fighters."

"We need you to be conscious of every dollar the American public commits to keep you highly trained, educated and prepared for crisis," he said. "Every Marine plays a vital role in our effort to remain faithful stewards of the taxpayer dollars that fund our corps."

Training time is particularly important, according to Amos.

"I need each of you to be particularly judicious during the periods of training such that you squeeze every ounce of training value out of every dollar spent," he said.

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