Memo: Marines Forced to Cut Readiness to Pay For Hurricane Damage, Unplanned Expenses

USNI News | 3/22/2019 | Megan Eckstein
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Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks with a Marine during an exercise in Bridgeport, Calif., Feb. 11, 2019. Gen. Neller observed mountain warfare cold weather training and discussed ways to optimize training. US Marine Corps photo.

This post has been updated to include a statement from Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.

Marine - Corps - Challenges - Precedent - Year

The Marine Corps is facing “fiscal challenges without precedent” this year due to unexpected expenses forced on the small service by the Pentagon, the White House and Congress, and the commandant is looking to the secretary of the Navy for help.

In a March 18 memo, Gen. Robert Neller outlined how these costs levied by outside organizations – plus the bills to repair damage from Hurricane Florence – will force the Marine Corps to make decisions that hurt combat readiness. Aspects of the memo were first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

Mr - Secretary - Assistance - FY-19 - Budget

“Mr. Secretary, I am writing to seek your assistance in rectifying FY-19 budget shortfalls for the Marine Corps. As you know, the Marine Corps faces fiscal challenges without precedent. The inability to reprogram money and the lack of a supplemental for Hurricane Florence damage is negatively impacting Marine Corps readiness,” Neller wrote to Secretary Richard V. Spencer.

“While FY-19 was supposed to be a ‘good year’ given an ‘on-time’ enacted budget and higher topline, those positive attributes are now overcome by the negative factors below, imposing unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.”

Hurricane - Florence - Carolina - Coast - September

Hurricane Florence hit the Carolina coast in September 2018, after the Fiscal Year 2019 budget had already been passed but before the fiscal year began, and stalled over Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, causing about $3.5 billion in damage to one of the Marines’ most important installations. Neller told USNI News last month that the Marine Corps could not absorb these costs on its...
(Excerpt) Read more at: USNI News
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