President Obama’s 2017 budget request for the Marine Corps released Feb. 9 includes a small increase over last year’s funding, while continuing to procure expensive F-35B joint strike fighters.
The Marine Corps is requesting a total of $23.4 billion base funding, only about $200 million more than was enacted in 2016. The base budget includes $12.8 billion for military personnel, $6 billion for operations and maintenance and $1.4 billion for procurement. The Marine Corps’ request is a small piece of the Navy’s total fiscal year 2017 base funding of $155.4 billion.
The Corps has requested $1.6 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO) funding, which is about $100 million less than the service received in fiscal year 2016. Of that total about $1.2 billion will go toward operations and maintenance, $124 million to procurement and $183 million to military personnel.
The Marine Corps’ largest procurement effort continues to be the F-35B joint strike fighter program. In fiscal year 2016 the service received funding for 15 short takeoff and vertical landing variants. For 2017, the Marine Corps is asking for 16 F-35Bs. The multi-role strike fighter will replace the Marine Corps’ aging fleet of McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II aircraft and the F/A-18 Hornet A/B/C/D variants.