The plan for October 2012 is that the Marine Corps' footprint in southwestern Afghanistan would go from about 17,000 personnel to about 7,000. Marine officials had originally suggested the Marine Corps' footprint in Afghanistan would likely be reduced from about 19,000 personnel to 10,000 in fall 2012.
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Forces Cut, Bases Reduced: The Future of the Marines

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The plan for October 2012 is that the Marine Corps' footprint in southwestern Afghanistan would go from about 17,000 personnel to about 7,000. Marine officials had originally suggested the Marine Corps' footprint in Afghanistan would likely be reduced from about 19,000 personnel to 10,000 in fall 2012.

Marines should expect the drawdown to be deeper than initially suggested. The drawdown occurs as Afghan forces in the region take on more responsibility for their national security

The reductions result from the U.S. demilitarization of bases in Helmand and Nimroz provinces, Maj. Gen. John Toolan has said. The number of bases and outposts in the region also will drop, from about 250 last fall to about 28, he said.

New choices will be made about where the greatest threat is and where the greatest need is as far as readiness of the Afghan national security force, and how to best apportion the Marine forces.

Toolan's comments came as his Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based command prepared to hand off control to I MEF (Fwd.), out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. Maj. Gen. Charles Gurganus took over for Toolan in a March 12, 2012 ceremony at Camp Leatherneck, the Corps' main hub of operations in the region.

Toolan noted that the insurgency is on its back in southern Helmand, on its knees in the central part of the province, and on its heels in the north, where combat is more pronounced.

Marines made significant strides in northern Helmand since launching Operation Eastern Storm, an October 2012 assault in which Marine forces pressed north from Sangin district to insurgent-held territory in Kajaki.

Operation Eastern Storm was put into effect in early October and ran through November 2012. It was a very successful operation that involved very discreet operational maneuver on the part of the Marine Corps.



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