The head of the Marine Corps says it’s time the U.S. military branch known for its fierce, young warriors becomes a little more mature.
The Marine Corps is considering offering bonuses and other perks to entice older, more experienced Marines to re-enlist as it builds up its cyber operations to defend the nation, especially against cyberattacks from Russia and China. About 62 percent of Marines are 25 years old or younger with many serving only four years.
The move marks a historical change that could transform a force made up primarily of high school graduates lured by the bravado and physical challenges of joining a branch that prides itself on being the “tip of the spear,” the first to go into battle and knock in doors. It’s part of the Marine Corps’ modernizing efforts after 16 years of largely low-tech, counterinsurgency fights.
“It’s going to be a Marine Corps that’s a little bit older, a little more experienced because as much as we love our young Marines ... we need a little bit older because it takes longer to learn these skills,” Gen. Robert Neller told defense leaders at a San Diego conference. “And so we’re an organization looking at the whole way we do business, and it’s going to change our culture.”
Marine Corps officials are quick to emphasize the core recruiting mission will remain the same for the branch that boasts having the toughest warriors in the U.S. military.