The Insider

Walters: Marines seek commercial solutions for FY-19 budget priorities

By Lee Hudson  
March 6, 2018 at 11:17 AM

The Marine Corps' fiscal year 2019 budget priorities include a commercial-off-the-shelf air defense missile, an expeditionary unmanned aerial vehicle and long-range fires, according to a senior officer.

Assistant Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Glenn Walters said today at the McAleese Defense Programs conference in Washington the Marine Corps is seeking commercial solutions to meet its needs.

This strategy will allow the service to have a “bridge” solution in the field while working toward “getting the ultimate capability.” For instance, it took more than a year to deliver unmanned quadcopters after service commandant Gen. Robert Neller called for every infantry squad to be outfitted with one.

Walters said today he remains concerned about the FY-18 spending bill and whether Congress will pass an omnibus package that includes the Pentagon by March 23, when the latest continuing resolution ends. Additionally, he said the Marine Corps needs Congress to grant the military more time to spend the FY-18 money.

“Everything in our plan is predicated” on those two items, he said.

Last month, Walters echoed this sentiment during a Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing. “It might help if the appropriators can give us some flexibility so we can spend ‘18 money in ‘19 and . . . give us some authorities to . . . move money around when we’re executing,” he said.

The Surface Warfare Enhancement Act, a bill introduced by Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and cosponsored by SASC Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), includes a provision that allows for 85 percent of the Navy’s operations and maintenance funding in the FY-19 budget to be spent over two years. This includes ship and aircraft operations and maintenance.