Marine Corps general: Bases will remain economic rock on East Coast
via The Associated Press
COLUMBIA — The Marine Corps may face tight budgets and manpower cuts, but its installations will continue to be centers of economic activity in surrounding communities, the outgoing commander of seven East Coast Marine Corps bases said Tuesday.
“We will continue to be an economic engine for this area, and the areas where we have a presence,” Maj. Gen. Carl Jensen said in a farewell interview Tuesday from his center of operations at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Jensen, 57, is retiring as commander of Marine Corps Installations East after 35 years in uniform. He passes command of units in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to Col. Thomas Gorry on Friday.
Asked about the potential for cuts to military budgets and personnel, Jensen said the Marine Corps has weathered economic stresses and military drawdowns in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
While the Marine Corps overall has grown by tens of thousands in recent years, the area around Camp Lejeune has also boomed with new military construction, Jensen said. He said his command in eastern North Carolina alone has been undergoing so much construction that expenditures have amounted to about $2 million daily.
However, the current fiscal year may well be the last such boom time for military construction budgets, the two-star general said.
Jensen said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos has said the Corps could cut its forces about 20,000 to about 186,000 men and women in uniform, depending upon conditions such as the conflict in Afghanistan, where a drawdown is set to begin.
“It’s not so dramatic that we would have to take extraordinary measures,” Jensen said, adding that cuts could be made through attrition and by bringing fewer recruits into the Corps.
Jensen said it is clear that in the nation’s current economic times, “we will have to find some innovative ways to keep the level of excellence we have here” as they manage budgets and personnel.
“We’ve been through this before,” he said of the economic expansion and contraction. “The Marine Corps will survive very well.”
Jensen, of Wilmette, Ill., has overseen Marine Corps installations in Quantico, Va., Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point, and New River, N.C., Beaufort, S.C, Albany, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla., since July of 2008.
IN SUMMARY: The military is driving economic boom surround its bases with house starts and business expansions. While the new recruits may dwindle with the budget cuts, personnel and officers coming home will continue to drive the need for off-base housing. The LMC Group has been fueling that economic stimulus since 2009 and refiring stalled subdivisions to be able to deliver affordable housing for our troops. For more information, please contact us at www.lmcrealestate.com .