The Marines have had to cancel training exercises in Alaska, California and elsewhere because of the costs of sending service members to the U.S.-Mexico border, the commandant wrote in two internal memos reported on by the Los Angeles Times.
In the letters, Gen. Robert Neller wrote that the deployments are threatening readiness, international alliances and Corps solvency.
“It’s pretty unusual for the commandant to be raising concerns that … a top political priority for the president is undermining the ability of the Marine Corps to do the training they need,” Mandy Smithberger, a defense expert at the nonpartisan Project for Government Oversight, said, according to the paper.
Todd Harrison from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, however, said the border deployment costs are “likely small” compared to other parts of the Marine Corps budget.
“It sounds like there are some bureaucratic politics at work here,” Harrison told the Times.
Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz