Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that deploying to the southern border has cost the service about $6.2 million, The Hill reported.
Neller downplayed the cost as a major factor in recent Marine Corps financial issues, emphasizing it was one of eight areas contributing to the service’s budget strains. Neller made waves last month when two memos leaked warning that the border deployment was one of several unplanned and unbudgeted events posing “unacceptable risk” to combat readiness.
He addressed the readiness question Tuesday.
“I’ve personally checked the readiness of every unit down there, and with only one exception there was no impact to their actual readiness,” he said. “In fact, a couple of units improved their readiness. So to say that going to the border was degrading our readiness is not an accurate statement.”
There are now about 6,000 service personnel at the border, including 2,100 from the National Guard and 3,900 active-duty. The last official cost estimate for the troop presence was $132 million by the end of January.
Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Samantha K. Braun