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Monday, July 15th, 2024

Bicameral letter urges Congressional leadership to invest in Marine Corp restructuring plans

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A bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote Congressional leadership this week to secure FY 2024 Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations for the Marine Corps Force Design 2030 modernization efforts.

Led by U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), the lawmakers called for ongoing support as the Marine Corps moves to restructure and focus its modern iterations on growing concerns with China. In this, they were joined by 14 fellow senators and representatives, all arguing for a restructuring of focus on great power competition in the western Pacific and converting the Corps into a naval expeditionary force.

“As Members of Congress, we ask for a definable, applicable, and deliverable vision from our Armed Forces to get after the pacing threat while maintaining our stewardship of the taxpayer funding we’ve been entrusted with,” the members wrote. “The Marine Corps has delivered. It is now time for us to deliver and provide the support necessary to accelerate the Marine Corps’ full vision of Force Design [2030]. We cannot ask our Marines to stand toe-to-toe with our Nation’s adversaries without first standing behind them.”

The letter also called out perceived aggression from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), citing a 2022 Annual Threat Assessment from the Intelligence Community (IC) that identified its work to field a military by 2027 focused on deterring U.S. intervention during any conflict with Taiwan. In fact, the 2022 National Security Strategy (NSS) doubled down, labeling the PRC as the only national competitor with the intent and capacity to reshape the international order. Coupled with the growing Chinese investments in defense, the lawmakers underscored the importance of the Marine Corps shifting to meet them, becoming more adaptable, increasing flexibility and investing in new technologies.

This has not always been easy in the several years since Force Design was first proposed, according to the lawmakers.

“Since its beginnings in early 2020, the Marine Corps has internally allocated funding towards modernized investments with no increase to the Service’s budgetary topline, effectively resulting in more than $15.8 billion in cost savings to the DoD’s topline budget,” the lawmakers said. They added, “These prioritized efforts have increased lethality, mobility, and survivability to maintain a competitive advantage over our pacing competitor, China. Force Design, while necessary to compete against current and future adversaries, comes at a cost. A cost the Marine Corps internally managed while balancing their enduring role as the Nation’s global crisis response force.”