Marine Corps Infrastructure
The Marine Corps infrastructure consists of 16 major bases and stations in the United States and Japan. In keeping with the Marine's expeditionary nature, these installations are strategically located near air and sea ports of embarkation, and are serviced by major truck routes and railheads, to allow for the rapid and efficient movement of Marines and material.
Infrastructure development planning is designed to provide facilities for the efficient training of our air/ground combat teams while minimizing excess or redundant capacities. The obvious advantages to a lean infrastructure are efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Challenges arise in providing and maintaining infrastructure that can meet changing mission requirements in the face of increasing external pressures and declining fiscal and manpower resources.
The Marine Corps recognizes that protection of the environment is a national priority and are aggressively pursuing environmental cleanup, compliance, pollution prevention, and conservation programs. Correcting past hazardous materials management practices and replacing an aging infrastructure to meet new compliance requirements are becoming increasingly difficult as fiscal resources decline. Pollution prevention and ecosystem management are two strategies being pursued to achieve economical and sustained environmental compliance.
Once located in remote areas, many Marine Corps installations are now surrounded by urban, industrial, and mining development. This growth of the civil sector is often accompanied by pressure for access to our resources or demands to curtail our operations to make them more compatible with surrounding land uses. Additionally, regulatory requirements such as endangered species protection continue to erode unlimited access to areas needed for training. The Marine Corps maintains an aggressive encroachment control program, which has resulted in win-win solutions to meet these demands while not degrading the mission effectiveness of Marine Corps installations. Encroachment takes many forms and requires constant vigilance to ensure the continued viability of our installations and access to our training ranges.
Marine Corps infrastructure investment totals more than $25 billion. Routine maintenance and repair protects this investment through its life cycle, but eventually facilities must be recapitalized. Recapitalization of an infrastructure investment of this magnitude once every 100 years would necessitate a Military Construction, Navy (MCON) funding stream of $250 million annually. This is not achievable within current or projected budgets. To offset this deficit, the Marine Corps is aggressively pursuing several initiatives to downsize facilities at our bases and stations. By ensuring maximum use of the best infrastructure and demolishing the most energy and maintenance intensive facilities, the Marine Corps is reducing inventory. In addition, the Marine Corps is examining the ways of doing business to reduce the need for facilities to support the operating forces; such as, Prime Vendor Delivery of goods instead of maintaining a warehouse of material. The Marine Corps is looking to other services, agencies, and the commercial sector to provide needed facilities. Finally, the Marine Corps is using new legislative tools, which provide greater access to public/private ventures, to reduce requirement for facilities.
Military readiness requires an efficient and well-managed infrastructure with excellent facilities and high quality of life features. In addition to capital improvements, the Marine Corps must invest in their long term operation, maintenance, and repair. Failing to provide adequate resources will result in an eventual degradation of quality of life, operations, and mission accomplishment. Limited funding for BOS must be balanced to keep the backlog of maintenance and repair from growing, comply with environmental requirements, and pay for required services. These are all costs of responsible ownership. The Marine Corps is working to meet these challenges through a variety of means, including technological and business process changes to increase productivity.
Installation management requires a diverse staff possessing skills ranging from the electrical and plumbing trades to professionals trained in environmental science and law. The Marine Corps has actively pursued more efficient business practices, including outsourcing various functions and use of low maintenance technologies. This is evidenced by the fact the Marine Corps has the lowest ratio of civilian to military employees within DoD. Care must be exercised, however, to ensure that reducing civilian personnel does not impact the ability to provide a sufficiently skilled workforce to adequately maintain the infrastructure.
The limited size and lack of redundancy within the supporting establishment are a two-edged sword. The efficiencies associated with a small physical plant strategically located in support of the Marine Corps air/ground teams are truly beneficial. During this period of force and base structure reductions, however, finding the means to further reduce infrastructure capacity, while providing adequate facilities to meet the needs and maintain the integrity of MAGTF organizations, is difficult. Decisions made during 1995 as part of the base realignments and closures provided the infrastructure blueprint for the Marine Corps into the next century. Implementing these decisions is resulting in significant up-front costs to achieve long-term economies. New technologies such as simulation, changes in doctrine and training, a greater focus on jointness, and the fielding of new equipment necessitate our continual assessment of capacity requirements and resulting planning for change. Effecting these changes will require the continued commitment at all levels within the DoD and Congress.
The Marine Corps is a people-intensive service. A supporting establishment that helps attract and retain outstanding Marines and Sailors requires a commitment to their quality of life by providing housing, recreational amenities, child care facilities, family services, community support centers, and more. The Marine Corps has significant shortages of adequate housing for both bachelor and married service members. The Bachelor Housing Campaign Plan proposes aggressive strategies for building new barracks and quickly revitalizing barracks that should be retained. The Family Housing Campaign Plan is a broad-based approach to maintaining, repairing and improving core family housing inventory, and reducing housing deficits in high cost areas with traditional and creative financing mechanisms. In addition to housing, a commitment to excellent morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) programs will be instrumental in recruiting and retaining our Marines.
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