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21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks on the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative aboard USS Bataan March 5. The initiative will bring about new policies and programs including tighter fitness standards and an emphasis on smoking cessation. (Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Betsy Knapper)

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus held an All Hands call on board USS Bataan March 6 and announced the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative. Mabus said the initiative was designed to better prepare sailors, Marines and their families for military readiness. Mabus outlined five basic topics that would be the focus of current and new policies and programs.

Readiness: In addition to continuing programs for mental health and suicide prevention, there will be a renewed focus on alcohol abuse with mandatory breathalyzers in units force-wide. This policy is meant as a deterrent, not a punishment, to protect Marines and sailors from career and life-altering incidents involving alcohol.

Safety: The Department of the Navy is enhancing its prevention of sexual assault with increased education sessions for all Marines and sailors, increased sexual assault program managers and improved standards for reporting. Another focus will be on safe driving with stricter DUI standards and more intensive training for motorcycle riders.

Physical fitness: The goal is to move from a “culture of testing” to a “culture of fitness.” Waivers for body composition assessments will be removed and BCA will be required regardless of fitness test scores. Additionally, there will be an increased emphasis on nutrition in dining facilities. The Department of Navy will also launch an educational campaign on the harmful effects of smoking and provide services and products for smoking cessation. Exchanges will no longer offer discounts on smoking products in this Fiscal Year.

Inclusion: This area is focused on providing all personnel with every opportunity to succeed. A large focus of the initiative is to encourage women to make a career of the military by offering 12-month operational deferment after the birth of a child. Also, a new program is in pilot form which would allow men or women to return to service after up to three years without penalty after a hiatus to care for a child or relative while maintaining medical and Exchange privileges.

Continuum of service: The final initiative is focused on the whole life of sailors, Marines and their families. The Department of the Navy wants to equip everyone, whether one-term or career personnel, for a lifetime of success. There will be an increased support programs and benefits for those transitioning to civilian life as well as educational support while serving. Additionally, there will be continued commitment to providing Wounded Warriors with a lifetime of assistance and employment.

“For 236 years … you have upheld a proud heritage, protected our nation, projected our power, and provided freedom of the seas. In the coming years, this new strategy and our plans to execute it will ultimately depend on your skills, your talents and your well being that will assure that our Navy and Marine Corps not only perseveres but continues to prevail.” –Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus

For more information on the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative visit:

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  • Sarah Wallace

    @Nick Roberts So very well said, especially regarding education. It is absolutely astonishing and deplorable that the military/veteran unemployment rate is equivalent on a national average and higher locally than civilian unemployment- due to the lack of proper tranisistioning and failure to recognize experience and capabilities versus institutional education. In a way this nation has placed too much value on the “college experience” when they start looking for a transript instead of looking at retained knowledge. Anyone with that amount of military expertise and service is certainly deserving of a civilian job in their field.

  • Nick Roberts

    Want to make the Marine Corps and Navy better for the 21st century? Let us get back to our culture. Diversity, equality, and compassion are attributes to be admired in America, but they should not be used to shape military decisions, whether for manning issues, or battlefield decisions. The military even has a separate legal code that recognizes our separation from civil society, so why can’t Congress and EVERY PENTAGON APPOINTEE?

    Want to fix our pension problems? How about making TSP (Roth or 401k) mandatory, with matching contributions from the DOD? Shaping the force would be a lot easier if shrinking the force wasn’t like pulling teeth due to asking people to give up a pension they’ve halfway earned.

    As for college, those of us in the military know, much more than our civilian counterparts, that a college degree can get you an interview, but experience gets you hired and promoted. Find a REAL way to make our military service equivalent to a civilian-level education or vocational certification. It is asinine that with 8 years of performing a job at a graduate level (Intelligence communications including satellite, multi-spectrum radio, network administration and engineering, database administration over multiple operating systems, managing infrastructure with over 1500 users), my military experience and training is worth…..39 college credits.

  • Anonymous

    …a public offer should be made to replace the burned copies of the Quran. I left a similar message with the ELCA; Jesus Christ is accepted as a prophet of Allah by Islam. ALLAHU AKBAR! Marinepapa. Oorah. 

  • Bobwillingtondell

    I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I’m not a fat body, so I should be good.

  • Drivedabizness

    Way to tear down the force, Mr. Secretary. Pffft

  • Markmil2002

    Helping Marines?  Haha, although these are great ideas, it doesn’t mention the cutbacks, nor does it discuss the fact that prior service are ignored, despite being more than qualified to return to service.