The State of the Marine Corps: A Conversation with Commandant James Amos
As more U.S. Marines come home from Afghanistan, attention is turning to the impact of general budget cuts and those related to sequestration, as well as future strategy in a world full of security threats. For the Marine Corps, this raises issues of force structure, near-term combat readiness, weapons modernization plans, overseas basing and a range of other topics.
On May 29, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings hosted General James F. Amos, commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Amos has been the commandant of the Marine Corps since 2010 after serving as assistant commandant since 2008. Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at Brookings and author of the new book Healing the Wounded Giant: Maintaining Military Preeminence While Cutting the Defense Budget (Brookings Press, 2013), moderated a question and answer session following the commandant’s remarks.
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At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?
President-elect Bolsonaro has embraced tough-on-crime measures that egregiously violate basic human rights and eviscerate the rule of law. Responding to Brazil’s 63,880 homicides in 2017, Bolsonaro calls for increasing protection for police officers who kill alleged criminals and arming citizens. He calls for further militarizing urban policing, reducing the age of criminal liability from 18 to 16, reinstating the death penalty, authorizing torture in interrogations and imprisoning more people... Brazil’s police are already notorious for being one of the world’s deadliest in the use of force. In many favelas, Brazil’s retired and current police officers operate illegal militias that extort and control local communities, murdering those who oppose them and engaging in warfare with Brazil’s highly-violent gangs and in social cleansing. Bolsonaro is simply threatening to turn the rest of the police into state-sanctioned thugs.