Money to fix the subpar barracks is the No. 1 priority for the Marine Corps in its budget wish list for fiscal 2025.

The Corps would like an additional $230 million for restoring and modernizing the living facilities where Marines have had to put up with mold, vermin, broken furniture and appliances, and other deficiencies.

The money would come on top of the $274 million for barracks restoration in the service’s official budget request — a sum that already was a $65 million increase from the fiscal year 2024 budget request. The Corps plans to spend that money on renovating 13 barracks, where 3,517 Marines live, according to congressional testimony Wednesday by Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlos Ruiz.

The Marine Corps’ wish list, known as an unfunded priorities list, totals nearly $2.4 billion. The service’s formal budget request includes $53.7 billion for personnel, weapons, operations, infrastructure and more.

The congressionally mandated unfunded priorities lists are a way for the branches to signal how they would spend any additional money that came their way — and nudge lawmakers for those extra funds.

But the defense budget topline is capped, based on Fiscal Responsibility Act spending limits put in place for fiscal years 2024 and 2025, so additional money for one service’s priority would have to come from somewhere else in the Defense Department’s budget.

On the Corps’ fiscal year 2024 wish list in spring 2023, the No. 1 item wasn’t even a Marine asset: It was an amphibious warship, which falls under the Navy’s budget.

Then-Commandant Gen. David Berger insisted the ship was necessary to maintain a congressionally mandated fleet size of at least 31 amphibious ships, which the Marines use to deploy overseas and conduct deterrence and crisis response missions.

Ultimately, Congress added a billion dollars to the fiscal year 2024 defense authorization bill to incrementally fund that amphibious ship, LPD-33. Congress has not yet passed an appropriations bill, though, to actually provide that money. The Navy has asked for remaining money needed to finish building LPD-33 in its fiscal year 25 budget request.

Throughout the past year, Marine leaders repeatedly have said fixing the barracks is a top priority. The state of the barracks could hamper the Corps’ plan to retain experienced Marines who have the training and talent necessary for fighting future wars, leaders have acknowledged.

The Marine Corps has rolled out a Barracks 2030 plan, which involves installing civilian barracks managers, consolidating Marines in the higher-quality barracks, improving the maintenance process, replacing outdated furniture and considering partnering with the private sector.

To restore the barracks, though, the service needs much more money.

The Marine Corps estimates its backlog of deferred maintenance in its facilities totals more than $15.8 billion, according to Department of the Navy budget request documents. Commandant Gen. Eric Smith said in October 2023 it would take about a decade for the service to fix its barracks.

On March 11, the day the military services unveiled proposed budgets, Marine spokesman Maj. Kevin Stephensen told Marine Corps Times that the formal budget request’s $274 million for barracks restoration came “in this time of hard choices and budget constraints.”

The Corps is now assessing how its barracks are being used, Stephensen said. Barracks occupancy averages between 55% and 63%, according to the spokesman.

“Simply put, we have too many facilities and need to ensure we are making smart investments,” Stephensen said.

Items No. 2 and No. 3 on the fiscal year 25 wish list also pertain to quality of life on bases. The list includes $119 million for base operating support and $293 million for other kinds of facilities modernization.

What else is on the Marines’ wish list?

The Marine Corps requests $1.25 billion for modernization efforts related to the Force Design initiative, ranging from developing new communications tools to accelerating vehicle procurement to buying more bombs.

The list includes $6 million to develop the autonomous low-profile vessel, something the Marines began experimenting with in 2023 and successfully used in February’s Army-led Project Convergence exercise in California.

These drug-runner-inspired boats would fill an important resupply gap for the highly mobile Marine littoral regiments that will hop around the Pacific theater. They’ll carry with them the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System to provide a sea-denial capability for the larger joint force — and the autonomous low-profile vessels solve the problem of how to resupply these units with more missiles.

The vessel could deploy from a landing ship medium or connector and swim undetected to the shore while carrying two naval strike missiles inside.

Two big-ticket items are $340 million for the amphibious combat vehicle 30 mm cannon variant and $250 million for two CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters.

The list includes $95 million for four sets of Marine Corps F-35C engine spares and power modules, $90 million for an improved variant of the long-range anti-ship missile, and $90 million for the Osprey drive system safety and health information kits to monitor performance of the MV-22B Osprey.

Also on the list are items to upgrade new systems important to Force Design, including $10 million to modernize some equipment related to the Medium Range Intercept Capability and nearly $16 million for equipment upgrades on the Common Aviation Command and Control System, or CAC2S.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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