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The Marine Corps announced the cancellation of one of its most high-profile community outreach events on Thursday, attributing it to the federal government’s ongoing budget woes.
Marine Week Seattle was set to take place Aug. 5-11 in Washington’s largest city. It was expected to include a variety of military demonstrations, including some involving military aircraft and vehicles.
The announcement came one day after the Navy announced that it cut its popular Fleet Week event in New York City. Like the Marine Corps, the Navy attributed the cancellation of the outreach program to sequestration, automatic budget cuts that are set to slice $500 million from the Defense Department’s budget over the next 10 years as the federal government copes with a deficit of about $12 trillion.
“The fiscal challenge is not unique to the Marine Corps,” said Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of Marine Corps Forces Reserve, in a news release. “The decrease in our budget will affect key areas of the service, to include our community outreach efforts. While we face challenging times ahead, we are committed to our service to the nation and will prioritize efforts as necessary to complete our essential missions.”
Marine Week was first launched in Chicago in 2009, with plans to showcase the Corps in other cities across America each year. It was held in Cleveland last year, St. Louis in 2011 and Boston in 2010.
The cancellation follows guidance that was issued by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s office to cut events that required unnecessary costs to the government, said Capt. Maureen Dooley, a Marine spokeswoman at the Pentagon. The Corps sought a waiver, but it was not granted.