Border deployments strain Marine Corps, says commandant

Matt Saintsing
March 21, 2019 - 4:57 pm

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Damion Hatch Jr.


Marines suddenly deploying to the U.S.-Mexico border is straining the corps, Marine commandant Gen. Robert Neller says in internal memos unearthed by the Los Angeles Times. 

In a pair of memos dated March 18 and 19, Neller referred to the “unplanned/unbudgeted” border deployments ordered by President Trump poses “unacceptable risk” to the Corps. 

Neller sent the memos requesting additional funding, without which the Corps would have to cancel several exercises in Twentynine Palms, Alaska, Mongolia, and other areas, as well as cut down on joint training with Australian and South Korean forces.  

Part of the reason the Corps is running low on training funds, according to the memos, is the unexpected costs caused by Hurricanes Florence and Michael last year on bases in North Carolina and Georgia. 
And the border deployments are adding to the stress. 

Neller cited a $1.3 billion shortage for recovery operations and indicated additional budgetary constraints since he can’t shuffle around money due to the border deployments.

With hurricane season just a few months away, Neller wrote he’s concerned with “Marines, Sailors, and civilians working in compromised structures.” 

Trump ordered deployments of active military forces to the border last fall. They are expected to continue through at least September 2019. 

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On Monday, the Defense Department sent Congress a list of potential military construction projects that could be delayed under the national emergency. 

RELATED: Lawmakers looking to wreck Trump’s plan for military to fund border wall

Pentagon leaders are set to testify on the administration’s budget request next week before the House Homeland Security Committee. 

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