The Marine Corps plans to use a troop level increase approved by Congress this week to strengthen its cyber and information operations capabilities.
The Senate on Thursday approved in a 92-7 vote a sweeping defense policy bill that increases the end strength of the active U.S. armed forces, delivering the bill to President Obama’s desk for him to sign.
The Marine Corps will receive 3,000 additional active-duty troops from the current baseline of 182,000 Marines with the passage of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine commandant, said Wednesday that the service will use the troop increase to add roles to cyber, information operations, intelligence analysis, and electronic warfare capabilities.
“If we do get an end-strength increase and it’s sustainable and we get the money to recruit, train, and equip those Marines, they’ll be performing tasks and providing capabilities that we don’t think are existing in the current force either in sufficient quantity or they don’t exist at all,” Neller told an audience at the U.S. Naval Institute’s annual defense forum in Washington, D.C., when asked about the anticipated increase.