Neller relays goals, expectations at Lejeune

There’s no room for anything less than 100 percent.

That’s what the new commandant of the Marine Corps told Camp Lejeune Thursday when he stopped by the base to discuss his expectations, goals and concerns for the Corps.

Gen. Robert Neller told the Marines assembled for his speech in the Goettge Memorial Field House that he expects — and leaders should expect — Marines to always give 100 percent. Along with that, he ticked off the other desired traits: be technically and tactically proficient, be accountable for actions, care for and maintain weapons, overcome adversity, exercise initiative and always be honest and earn trust.

Neller took command Sept. 24, taking over for former commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. who began his new position as the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff on Sept. 25.

“The world is changing ... [and] we need to be ready,” Neller told the Marines.

The world is unstable, he said, which makes the future impossible to predict. Being a Marine is difficult and is made more difficult when the mission isn’t clear, he said.

Marines must be prepared for any mission — war or humanitarian — that comes their way.

“Like war itself, our approach to warfighting must evolve,” he said in his message.

The nation’s enemies are always changing and adapting, he said. Improving Marine readiness was one of Neller’s key concerns.

Standards will be higher for promotions, he said. Marines need to set higher standards and goals for themselves, too, he said. They need to be healthy not only in body, but in their minds and morals as well.

“I want to make sure that those people that we promote are ready for that transition,” he said.

Neller said one of the things holding many Marines back is their alcohol use.

“It’s like our family secret,” he said.

Numerous issues Marines have in their personal and professional lives can be attributed to alcohol use. After working hard in order to get where they are in the Marine Corps, he had a question: “Why would you risk all of that for alcohol?”

The end goal is one of achieving set goals.

“I want every Marine in this room to succeed,” he said.

Success is different for each individual. If success means getting out of the military to attend college or start another career or if it means retiring from the Marine Corps, he wants Marines to accomplish their goals, he said.

“You’re my business,” he said.

He also had a list of traits that Marine leaders should possess: compassion, honesty, integrity, loyalty and accountability. Leaders, he added, should provide opportunities for advancement, as well as realistic and challenging training, be firm but fair, and care for and support families and the wounded.