Wicker Chairs Hearing to Review Marine Corps Modernization

June 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Senate Seapower Subcommittee, today chaired a hearing to examine Marine Corps ground modernization efforts outlined in President Trump’s budget request for FY18.

Wicker spoke about the need to discuss the Corps’s strategy for updating its vehicle fleet, radar capabilities, and readiness capabilities.

Key excerpts of Wicker’s opening statement include:

“As the saying goes, there is no better friend than a Marine. There is also no worse enemy than a U.S. Marine. I truly believe this sentiment captures the professionalism and tenacity of the Marine Corps.”

“In terms of modernization, for too long, many Marine Corps modernization programs have suffered from drawn-out development timelines, moving and unrealistic requirements, and cost overruns.  These factors have often conspired to prevent fielding replacements for aging systems. An ever-increasing array of threats is exacerbating the need to modernize, which include explosively formed projectile IEDs, long range rocket artillery, anti-tank guided missiles, electronic warfare, drones, and cyber threats, just to name a few.  Additionally, the use of anti-access area denial tactics is putting a premium on increasing the lethality and survivability of smaller and more dispersed ground units.”

“The Marine Corps’s budget accounts for approximately six percent of the Department of Defense’s total budget.  I remain concerned about the impact of budget uncertainty on modernization and readiness across the Defense Department, but especially for the Marine Corps. For these reasons, it is imperative that Congress and the Corps continue to work together to ensure that the brave young men and women of the Marine Corps have the very best to accomplish their dangerous missions.”

Witnesses at today’s hearing included: 

  • Mr. John M. Garner, Program Executive Officer, Land Systems Marine Corps;
  • Lieutenant General Robert S. Walsh, Deputy Commandant For Combat Development and Integration; Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command; and Commander, United States Marine Forces Strategic Command; and
  • Brigadier General Joseph F. Shrader, Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command.