II MEF command to relocate as Marine Corps downsizes

Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 04:41 PM.

The Marine Expeditionary Brigade, a force that will consist of several elements of thousands of Marines and sailors, will reside within II MEF. Its command element will consist of roughly 200 personnel. Once II MEF relocates to Norfolk, the MEB will stand alone with a one-star general in command. The MEB would have a headquarters capable of deploying as a war-fighting force.

Geography, according to Fox, is everything. Because of the move, the II MEF commanding general will have a much more difficult time scheduling face-to-face interactions with the other generals, subordinate commanders and Marines. Current practices within the MEF like face time with commanders are going to be 80 percent of the challenge, with the other 20 percent being the execution, he said.

“As we shrink down the MEF we are going to see some change,” Fox said. “We are going to stand down one battalion and one squadron. ...We’re going to reorganize the logistics group so it has less people. ...We’ll maintain the capability just at a smaller capacity. ...We won’t have as much on the shelf.”

Gen. James Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, has discussed local impacts with the Carolina constituency in Washington D.C., while both Fox and Brig. Gen. Robert Castellvi have discussed local impacts with the areas local government, he said. Fox acknowledged that the drawdown will have an impact on the area, but is unsure how extensive it will be, he said.

“We’re certainly trying to make sure this is not a surprise to anybody,” Fox said. “We’re trying to lay out the full impacts of sequestration on what we consider the nation’s crisis response force. … (The drawdown) is certainly not the Marine Corps’ or the commandant’s desire. ...I would encourage everybody to take advantage of the fact that we are being forewarned that changes are coming.”

Thomas Brennan is a reporter for the Jacksonville Daily News.

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