Since the last major force structure review, the Marine Corps maintained and operated a force of 182,100 to meet prior NSS requirements, by 2016. The reduction from a wartime high of 202,000 to a 182,100 force assumed some risk by making reductions across all levels of the MAGTF.
In 2016, the CMC initiated a study to design an active component Marine Corps that is organized to adapt and operate effectively despite operational imperatives (threat, environment, mission), and improve efficiency in meeting increasing demands from the geographic combatant commanders for ready and relevant forces across the range of military operations. As an integral part of both the naval and joint force, the Marine Corps of 2025 must be organized, trained, and equipped to perform the full range of its assigned roles and responsibilities. These roles and responsibilities are under evermore challenging conditions in an era of rapidly proliferating technology, intensifying urbanization, global access challenges, and the empowerment of state and non-state actors to prosecute sophisticated agendas contrary to our national interests.
With the authorization of 3,000 additional Marines in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the CMC-directed Marine Corps Future Force 2025 analysis, a 185,000 force emerged as the best we could do to address the operational requirements of steady-state deployments, crisis response activities, and potential major combat operations while still preserving institutional health and readiness.
With the most recent authorization of 1,000 additional Marines in the active component in the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA, the Marine Corps 186,000 force will improve the Marine Corps warfighting capability in cyberspace operations including, but not limited to, improving the ability of Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command to respond to increased operational demands, support joint force manning requirements related to cyber operations and build a cyberspace operations occupational field. The Marine Corps will use this force as the recommended basis for our contribution to our Nation’s defense.