Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller addressed a number of issues facing the Corps during an Atlantic Council “Commanders Series” in Washington D.C. on Thursday. Among them were modernizing and maintaining the force, potential changes to Marines operational tempo, and the future of transgender service members within the branch.
Neller cited Marine Corps aviation specifically when addressing the way this year’s budget will allow for an expansion and continuation of the ongoing effort to modernize the branch after nearly two decades of continued combat operations in multiple theaters. He didn’t specifically address the recent rash of incidents involving Marine Corps aircraft crashing or otherwise malfunctioning both domestically and in the Pacific, though it can be assumed that a part of that modernization effort must be getting the existing platforms the repair and maintenance they need.
Is there enough money there? Yes, I think there is; we stated what our requirement was and congress voted us the money,” Neller said. “So our job now is to spend it wisely to create the capabilities that we need to keep America safe.”
From there, Neller moved on to addressing a potential shift in the way Marines deploy that he believes could allot more opportunity to conduct the training required to ensure Marines are successful in their varied warfighting endeavors. Like issues with maintenance, a number of senior defense officials and politicians alike have pointed a finger at a lack of training as the culprit behind a number of high profile and deadly incidents involving American service personnel, including a rash of collisions between U.S. Navy vessels and commercial ships (or even the ground) over the past year.