Marines zero their rifles in the Marine Corps Championships hosted by the Weapons Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., in April 2023.

Marines zero their rifles in the Marine Corps Championships hosted by the Weapons Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., in April 2023. (Joaquin Dela Torre/U.S. Marine Corps)

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps is asking for more than $50 billion to support its ongoing transformation into a more modernized force and improve living conditions for Marines.

The service’s $53.7 billion budget request is part of the Navy’s $257 billion overall proposed spending plan for fiscal 2025, which begins Oct. 1. The total budget for the services represents a funding increase of 0.7% from last year’s request, which has yet to be approved by Congress.

“This budget prioritizes our people and our readiness to deploy and operate today and respond in this decade if called to,” said Rear Adm. Ben Reynolds, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget. “The budget delivers the resources necessary to operate and build a lethal naval force to defend our nation and our way of life.”

The Marine Corps’ spending plan would support a force of 204,800 active-duty Marines and Reserve members, several hundred less than the projected end strength for fiscal 2024.

The Navy and Marine Corps are boosting investment in personnel, including a 4.5% pay raise for sailors and Marines and expanded opportunities to enroll in community college or pursue other education.

There is also additional funding for the restoration and maintenance of barracks, family housing and child development centers.

“As we looked [at the budget], we said the first thing and most important is just to make sure that our sailors and Marines are safe and they have a good place to live,” Reynolds said.

Something as simple as providing Wi-Fi access can go a long way toward making troops feel at home, as well as ensuring basics such as working doors with locks, he said.

The Marine Corps is in the midst of inspecting every barracks facility in its inventory and hopes to bring them all up to standard by 2030, Reynolds said. The service’s deferred maintenance backlog stands in excess of $15.8 billion, according to budget documents.

Much of the Marine Corps’ budget request is committed to implementing its Force Design 2030 program, a long-term plan for the service to modernize and adapt for future marine warfare environments. The service is asking for nearly $14 billion in weapons and systems procurement — a 5.2% increase from the fiscal 2024 request.

“This budget is focused on delivering resources to ensure America’s maritime forces — our Navy and Marine Corps team — are ready, resilient, flexible and forward-deployed to do our nation’s tasking, whether that’s supporting naval diplomacy, crisis response, building partnerships, or protecting the world’s global economy, which floats on seawater,” said Erik Raven, undersecretary of the Navy.

Here are other figures from the Marine Corps’ budget request for fiscal 2025:

• $364 million for major construction supporting the relocation of Marines from Okinawa, Japan, to Guam and Darwin, Australia.

• $3 billion for research and development, a $600 million drop from fiscal 2024.

• $18.1 billion for military personnel, including increases in pay and housing compensation.

• Procurement of 123 Javelin missiles, 674 joint light tactical vehicles, and 12 Medium-Range Intercept Capability, or MRIC, missiles.

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Svetlana Shkolnikova covers Congress for Stars and Stripes. She previously worked with the House Foreign Affairs Committee as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow and spent four years as a general assignment reporter for The Record newspaper in New Jersey and the USA Today Network. A native of Belarus, she has also reported from Moscow, Russia.

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