Measures taken at both Marine Corps and Navy boot camp have brought up budget concerns from both branches, as they search for cheaper options.
“By far the most expensive part of this for us is paying for off site ROM (restriction of movement) facilities,” Rear Adm. Milton J. Sands III, commander of the Naval Service Training Command told reporters at a Tuesday press briefing.
Both services have implemented a 14-day restriction of movement period where recruits are quarantined at an off-base location when they arrive for training.
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And though the Corps will still be allowed to have separate-gender squad bays ― where recruits sleep and shower ― with the passage of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act the rest of training must be fully integrated down to the platoon level.
The Corps is currently using The Citadel to hold recruits before training begins, but with high costs.
“What we’re trying to do is find a less expensive way to do what we’re doing now,” Gen.William F. Mullen, the commanding general for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, said at the Tuesday briefing.
Sands said the Navy anticipates it will require the second location to quarantine future sailors for up to a year and is currently looking for a more efficient and cost-effective location to house recruits before training at the Navy’s Recruit Training Command Great Lakes in Chicago.
“We’re starting to look now at a base to the north of us that we can use that will simultaneously reduce our costs for force protection and allow us to have a one location to execute this off site ROM,” Sands said.
The Corps also is looking for a convenient location near both the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, but Mullen did not say where the Corps was in the process.
Mullen said given the uncertainty of the situation he is unsure whether the Marine Corps Training and Education Command will have a budget shortfall this year.
Both commanders credited the $10 billion supplemental fund passed by Congress earlier in 2020 as the biggest reason they haven’t already run out of money.
“That’s a bit of a moving target, we obviously have the COVID supplemental that’s been very helpful,” Mullen said.
“I can’t really say right now, whether we’re going to be short, or over.”