Protecting Parris Island at the Next Level 

Marine Corps leaders at Parris Island have shown their dedication to preserving their installation with extensive and creative efforts to increase the resiliency of the recruit depot against climate threats. As this blog and other reports have detailed, the steady flow of projects from oyster bed development to raising roads have had a huge impact on Parris Island’s ability to keep itself above rising sea levels. But, as one relatively small base within the Department of Defense’s thousands of facilities, the fight for Parris Island to keep “making Marines” for years to come could definitely use some attention at the national level. 

House Resolution 473, filed in the US House of Representatives on January 24th, is just the sort of national attention Parris Island needs. The full title of the resolution is “To prohibit the use of Federal funds to close or realign the Marine Corps Recruit Depot located at Parris Island, South Carolina, and for other purposes”. This was a collective effort by South Carolina lawmakers, being sponsored by Beaufort County’s own Representative, Nancy Mace with cosponsors in Representatives Joe Wilson (SC-2), Ralph Norman (SC-5), William Timmons (SC-4), Russell Fry (SC-7), and Jeff Duncan (SC-3). Since being passed it has been referred to the powerful House Armed Services Committee which writes the annual National Defense Authorization Act for allocations of funding to the Department of Defense. 

While this Resolution with 6 legislators behind it, is relatively small potatoes for the 435-member House of Representatives, it represents a key escalation of the conversation around Parris Island and the desire to keep the installation functioning for the foreseeable future. Budget talks are currently swirling around Capitol Hill and various plans have been pitched to rein in government spending or reduce the national debt. The infamous Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process has also been seriously discussed. In this atmosphere, the sooner that Parris Island can be declared essential and worthy of maintaining its place as the premier Marine training facility, the better. Even if House Resolution 473 does not pass or become officially adopted, its show of public support for Parris Island at the federal level will help frame future budget priorities and make a strong case for not only preserving the base but also the missions and funding attached to it. 

The Marines have already proven they can fight rising sea levels in addition to the enemies of the United States. Now their civilian representatives just have to ensure they have the resources to continue that fight. With actions such as H.R. 473, South Carolina lawmakers are doing their part to make sure Parris Island continues to rise above the waves of the ocean and the unpredictable waters of federal funding.  

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The Military Enhancement Committee (MEC) of Beaufort County Support Fund is a charitable fund administered by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Its mission is to enhance the quality and value of the military installations of Beaufort County, namely, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Naval Air Station Beaufort, and Beaufort Naval Hospital. The MEC seeks to defend these installations against any threats like closure or natural disaster, while also positioning them for enhancement through personnel, resources, and other opportunities that both benefit the Department of Defense and our region.