Neller: Marines will stall personnel growth in FY-18 to pay for readiness

By Lee Hudson / May 24, 2017 at 1:40 PM

The Marine Corps plans to halt its personnel growth in fiscal year 2018 to fund readiness, according to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.

Gen. Glenn Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said in February the service must grow by 3,000 Marines each year until it reaches its force structure goal of 194,000 personnel.

The 194,000 figure was determined by a yearlong study, dubbed Marine Corps Force 2025.

But Neller told Inside Defense after a May 24 Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing that both the FY-17 and FY-18 budgets are meant “to stop the bleeding, start the breathing, protect and renew” Marine Corps readiness. The FY-18 budget proposes no personnel increase.

“There are a lot of things we’re trying to fix, and right now [Defense] Secretary [Jim] Mattis has been pretty strong about, 'Hey, make what you’ve got well,’ and that’s what our goal is for now,” Neller said.