WASHINGTON — The US Army should consider standing up forward-deployed crisis response units, similar to the ones being stood up by the Marine Corps, a top military official said Thursday.
“I would say that I’d like to see the Army place more emphasis on the growth industry of the national security interest of protecting American citizens abroad; don’t yield that entirely to the Marine Corps,” Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at an Association of the United States Army event.
“It’s taking on greater urgency given recent events,” he said.
The units are being stood up as a way to rapidly deploy to a variety of crises, including reinforcement missions and humanitarian assistance. They are being formed following the assassination of the US ambassador to Libya at the American consulate in Benghazi last year.
The Marine Corps has already deployed a crisis-response force for Africa to an air base in Spain, and is now looking to develop a second force for use in the Caribbean Sea and Central and South America, Commandant Gen. Jim Amos said in April. The Marines are also looking at standing up another response force in the Middle East.
The Army is in the midst of shrinking its end strength following more than a decade of prolonged counterinsurgency focused wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.