Why getting better barracks is important for top Marine noncommissioned officers

Why getting better barracks is important for top Marine noncommissioned officers

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Providing Marines with better barracks costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

But the Marine’s top noncommissioned officer said he would “never apologize” for asking for the money.

“If we’re going to continue to have an all-volunteer force, it’s OK to pay them, it’s OK to give them a safe place to live, it’s OK to give them energy like Division I athletes. ” Marine Corps Chief Petty Officer Carlos Ruiz said Monday at the Naval Federation’s Sea, Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. “Frankly, they deserve it. Because, as the commander says, they’re the ones who are going to fight the battles and the ones who are going to get killed.”

In early 2024, the Marine Corps announced its Barracks 2030 Plan to renovate barracks, the living quarters typically occupied by young, unmarried non-commissioned officers.

For now, Marines in some barracks have to live with visible mold, pests, broken appliances and other problems, the Government Accountability Office and media reports show. Became. Corps leaders said the Barracks 2030 plan is aimed at preventing Marines from retiring.

But the plan, which involves bulldozing some of the worst barracks and renovating others, won’t come cheap.

The Marine Corps plans to spend $274 million on barracks modernization in fiscal year 2025, an increase of $65 million from the previous year.

Barracks modernization is also at the top of the Corps’ list of unfunded priorities, making it clear what the military would spend the additional money on if the budget allowed. In this list, the Marine Corps indicated to Congress that it would seek an additional $230 million for barracks in fiscal year 2025, on top of the $274 million already scheduled to be spent.

“We’re not looking for the Taj Mahal,” Lewis said Monday.

Lewis said the Marine Corps had chosen not to invest in infrastructure for several years, deciding it needed to spend money on modernization. The Force Design Initiative, rolled out in 2020 by then-Commander David Berger, overhauled the Corps’ approach to combat in preparation for a potential conflict with high-tech Chinese forces.

“We’re transparent about it. The decision not to invest in your building was made because we needed to buy these platforms in order for you to go home and for you to win.” ,” Lewis said. “But now is the time to do both. It’s okay to ask for both.”

Eileen Lowenson is a staff reporter at Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an Editorial Fellow in her August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College and served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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