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A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 162 (Reinforced), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), picks up an AV-8B Harrier engine to transport it from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) to the fleet replenishment ship USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198) during a Helicopter Support Team mission as part of Combined Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), Dec. 1, 2017, in the Atlantic Ocean. The exercise allows all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) to join and train in realistic scenarios so the MEU as a whole can meet its Pre-Deployment Training Program objectives prior to their upcoming deployment at sea.

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan Sosner

CMC Speaks at the Reagan National Defense Forum

4 Dec 2017 | Sgt. Annika Moody The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Senior military officials, defense industry leaders, and experts gathered at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, Dec. 2, 2017, to discuss the "crisis" facing the United States.

This year's forum hoped to evaluate the retooling of the military, as well as the challenges associated. The forum also touched on recognizing other nations' growing military capabilities. Gen. Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps says that while the Marine Corps recognizes these issues, he assures that the Marines on the ground are capable of carrying out their missions.

"You expect your Marines to be the nation's force in readiness and I can assure you that the forces that are forward deployed are trained and equipped," Neller said.

Neller says that the Marine Corps is actively adjusting for future conflicts, but he also understands the need to stay focused on the current ones.

Neller added, "We've seen this coming, we've been watching and we've adjusted our training. We're not sitting here with our heads in the sand, but at the same time, you can consume readiness in your day to day deployments, so we recognize the capabilities of these other nations and we recognize, that you know, it may not require, it's probably not going to require more brigade or infantry battalions. It's going to require a different set of capabilities." Neller continued, "We're looking at all that, but in the meantime you have to fund for the readiness to do the current fight."

The budget was the biggest topic of conversation at the forum and Gen. Neller's comment was simply put.

"I want a budget. I'd like a two year budget. I'd really like a 4 year budget. I just want to know what the number is so we can figure out what we're going to do and how we're going to move."

Many issues were brought to the table but Neller stands firm on one thing,  "We will never lower standards. The Marine Corps will get smaller before we lower standards. In fact, if anything we're going to raise them."

The federal government is currently operating under a continuing resolution, but military leaders are urging Congress to pass a full budget in order to properly plan for defense and training.

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