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Letter to Secretary Rumsfeld - United States Marine Corps Equipment Shortage


Location: Washington, DC

IG Report Shows Shortages in Vehicle Armor, Guns, Communications Gear

June 21, 2005

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

I read with great concern the article in today's Boston Globe detailing shortages of equipment that continue to plague the United States Marine Corps. The Globe's reporter, citing a report by the Marine Corps' inspector general, wrote:

The Marine Corps leadership has "understated" the amount and types of ground equipment it needs, according to the investigation, concluding that all of its fighting units in Iraq "require ground equipment that exceeds their current supplies, "particularly in mobility, engineering, communications, and heavy weapons."

The report detailed shortages of vehicle armor, a variety of weapons-including .50-caliber, M240G, and MK19 machine guns-as well as communications gear. The report also found a need for additional main battle tanks to replace those worn-out by their use in Iraq.

Over the last two years, Congress has provided more than $200 billion in supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan-that in addition to the more the $400 billion we spend each year on defense. It is unbelievable, and quite frankly unacceptable, that American personnel face shortages of anything at this point. Reports like this, if not met with urgent action by you, are sure to further complicate recruiting efforts.

The men and women of the American military have a remarkable can-do spirit. They will execute their missions to the best of their ability with whatever gear they have. But it is our responsibility in Washington to make sure they receive everything they need to succeed.

In the next two weeks, I ask you to provide Congress with information on the Department's plans to meet the equipment and supply needs identified in this report. As you know, the Senate will soon begin debate on the defense authorization and appropriations bills. Your timely response will ensure our ability to respond to these needs with any necessary legislation.

Congress has spared no expense in providing resources to fund the war effort. When the needs of our personnel in the field are not being met, it suggests either the requirements reported to Congress are faulty, or the Department is failing to execute. In either case, I urge your immediate attention to this issue.


John Kerry

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