The Navy's amphibious ships are not ready to deploy Marines around the world on time, a problem that has no short-term fix and degrades America's ability to deter adversaries and reassure allies at a time when it is needed most, according to one of the Marine Corps' top generals.
“There's a saying that wars are a come-as-you-are game,” Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and deputy commandant for combat development and integration — the Marine who heads the service's modernization efforts, told Military.com on Thursday. “Well, this is where we are. And there is simply no immediate fix.”
The readiness issue comes down to several factors, including overuse of amphibious ships during the last 20-plus years of war, according to Heckl, who said that maintenance took a back seat to the intense operational tempo that helped define the Global War on Terror. Now, according to the general, the Navy and its Marine passengers are reaping the consequences of those decisions, just as conflict in the Middle East boils over once again.
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There is no good solution in sight, Heckl said, and the Corps is concerned that its expeditionary units could be in a position where they cannot meet the needs of a new crisis given the current state of the Navy's amphibious ships, a problem it has been faced with over the…