Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Wednesday that Lt. Gen. Robert Neller has been nominated to serve as the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Neller has served as the commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command and Marine Corps Forces Europe for exactly one year. Marine Corps Forces Command oversees Marines’ preparation for deployment, and Marine Corps Forces Europe has become increasingly relevant as the service seeks alternate options for getting around Europe and Africa without enough traditional three-ship groups.
He previously served as the deputy commanding general for operations of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) from 2005 to 2007, during a particularly dangerous period in Iraq.
He also served as assistant division commander of 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions and commander of 3rd Marine Division, as well as director of plans, policies and operations division (PP&O) at Headquarters Marine Corps. From January 2011 to July 2012 he served as director for operations, (J3) on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
Carter said in a Pentagon press conference that he met Neller during the general’s time as the J3.
“We collaborated in the Warfighting Senior Integration Group, where we focused on providing urgent support to our troops in the field in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” Carter said.
“And so we traveled together to theater and around this country, where I saw Bob’s outstanding relationship with our troops. He loves them, he relates to them, and they light up when he’s talking to them. I know he will be a magnificent commandant for the Marines serving all over the world, and he’ll be another strong addition to the Joint Chiefs.”
Neller graduated from University of Virginia and was commissioned in May 1975.
He will replace commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford, who took over as commandant last fall but was nominated in May to replace Gen. Martin Dempsey as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.