Semper IFFi: Identifying Friend from Foe

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Nearly two weeks into the sequester, there’s no sign of compromise on the horizon. This could stick for a while, apparently. The Marines, for example, are slated to lose $1.4 billion out of their planned spending through October (that’s a 6% cut off their 2013 budget, but its impact will be nearly twice that because it will be spread over seven, not 12, months).

That’s why General James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, and Sergeant Major Michael Barrett, the corps’ top enlisted Marine, have just issued a video to the nation’s 194,000 Marines. OK, so it’s not Full Metal Jacket

But it’s a laudable effort by Marine leaders to calm jittery nerves from Parris Island to San Diego to Okinawa. In the 10-minute video, Amos tells his Marines to “save every round, every gallon of gas” to ensure they’re wringing the most bang out of every buck. “This is no time to do business as usual,” Amos says. “Things have changed; the landscape’s changed.”

Barrett makes clear that Marines will continue to do what they’ve always done – just with less money: “We’re going to continue to sacrifice – we’re going to continue to live hard, train hard and fight hard.”

Amos opens his remarks by tipping his flight helmet – he was an F-4 and F-18 pilot in his earlier days – to Congress:

I want everybody to understand one thing – the service chiefs have appeared before Congress in four different hearings in the last three weeks. And the single message we’ve got, from just uniformly across all members of Congress, both from the Senate and the House, is they want to help us. They understand – they’re our best friends – the Marine Corps exists today because of the great support of Congress.

Perhaps so, sir: but it is Congress that put you into this mess.

Video here: