Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke to Marines and Marine Corps officials this week at the Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California, about the Department of Defense's (DOD) recent budget proposals for the 2017 fiscal year and how they will benefit Marines, who are often the first to be deployed.
Carter said that in the past, Marines mainly focused on training to defeat guerrillas and revolutionaries, as was necessary for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, as the military's focus is changing, it is necessary to evolve with the times, which means being prepared to face a broader spectrum of threats.
While answering questions from Marines in attendance, Carter said Russia was of specific concern, as Russian President Vladimir Putin continually has shown hostility to the U.S., NATO and much of Europe. Carters' aim is to better equip the U.S. allies in NATO, against both conventional aggression and hybrid warfare. Carter said training should be focused with an eye on destroying Islamic State extremists, vigilantly monitoring North Korea and remaining watchful of rivals China and Russia.
Several situations might involves the aviation unit of the Marines, into which Carter proposes to invest more resources with the new budget. This would include expediting the maintenance of older fighter jets, creating more F-35 joint strike fighters for both the Navy and Marines, and also adding more heavy-lift helicopters.
Carter also told the Marines in attendance that along with better equipping them, the DOD also aims to flash "military muscles" at other countries.
“We need to be ready and make it clear to them and anybody else who might come along in the future that if you tangle with the United States … you’ll regret it,” Carter said.