President-elect Donald Trump pledged on the campaign trail that there would be a big bump in the size of the Marine Corps, to the tune of 12,000 Marines, should he be elected. Now, according to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, that is going to happen.
Neller discussed the importance of taking it slow when it comes to such a large expansion, the Marine Corps Times reported. “Is it doable? Absolutely. It’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. “We’ve got a very high-quality force. Whenever you try to grow too fast, it’s very difficult to maintain that level of quality and experience.”
Trump spoke about the then-proposed increase on Sept. 7 during a campaign speech about national security: “We will build a Marine Corps based on 36 battalions, which the Heritage Foundation notes is the minimum needed to deal with major contingencies – we have 23 now.”
Neller explained that there’s much that goes in to expansion: “It’s not just the Marines. I’ve got to find ‘X’ number more battalion commanders; ‘X’ number more sergeants major and company commanders and [operations officers]; let alone buy the gear and build the barracks.”
The Daily Caller reported:
The current National Defense Authorization Act expands the Marine Corps by only 3,000 troops.
Trump made military readiness a key part of his national security message throughout the 2016 campaign. “History shows that when America is not prepared is when the danger is greatest. We want to deter, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military strength,” Trump said in his September address.
“The increase in end strength gives us flexibility on the bench as well as a depth that we could surge if things really got bad,” Marine Gen. John Paxton (Ret.) told reporters in May. “Ukraine, before Syria, before South China Sea, before WikiLeaks,” he continued.
There is no doubt that we need to deal with our military readiness issue, which is something that Trump had discussed quite a bit on the campaign trail.
Trump will need to do something that President Obama struggled with, or more likely didn’t care to do — he needs to listen to what military leaders have to say and what they need.
Trump’s words throughout the campaign and his appointment of military generals to critical administration positions bodes well for his understanding of the need to listen to those who know what they are talking about.
What a change that will be.
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