WASHINGTON (AP)—The Marine Corps may need to increase in size to sustain deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan without sacrificing needed training or putting undue stress on the corps, the new Marine commandant said Wednesday.
At a breakfast meeting with reporters, Gen. James Conway also warned that it could take years to adequately train and equip the Iraqi security forces - longer, perhaps, “than the timeline that we probably feel ... our country will support.”
“This is tough work, it doesn’t happen overnight,” and patience by the American people will be needed, he said. On the plus side, he said Marines he’s talked to in recent days are encouraged by the progress they are seeing among Iraqi forces.
Conway said the current pace of Marine rotations to Iraq - seven months there and seven-to-nine months at home - is limiting other types of training that units can receive and could eventually prompt Marines to leave the service.
“There is stress on the individual Marines that is increasing, and there is stress on the institution to do what we are required to do, pretty much by law, for the nation,” said Conway.