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Mr. Goldberger said the “industry standard” is generally .02 for employees, a less strict measurement than the Corps‘.

Marine spokeswoman Maj. Shawn Haney told The Times that the Corps conducted pilot random testing from May to October at three locations, including the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. Of 797 Marines tested, 99.99 passed, she said.

A Corps statement said: “Breathalyzer testing will enable commanders to test 100 percent of the Marines in their unit in order to take appropriate actions related to the health and safety of Marines such as training, education and referral to substance abuse counseling.”

The Marine Corps did not respond to a question from The Times on why it chose .01 as a “positive” reading requiring corrective action.

Army regulations say an on-duty soldier with .05 BAC or more is subject to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and can receive a less-than-honorable discharge.

Commanders may set limits below .05 and bar alcohol consumption altogether on deployment.

“Someone who blows a .05 while on duty could potentially be not fit for duty since there are effects of alcohol even at low levels,” said Mr. Goldberger, who was a key defense witness in the acquittal of former Major League pitcher Roger Clemens on charges he lied about taking performance enhancing drugs.

A blood-alcohol content of .08 — which means eight one-hundredths of 1 percent of the blood by volume is alcohol — is the U.S. standard for drunkenness while driving. Concentration, reasoning, depth perception and other skills can be impaired by a blood-alcohol content lower than .08.

The armed forces for years have required mandatory drug testing. The services have wrestled with the idea of doing to same for alcohol given the belief that domestic violence and sexual assaults are often rooted in excessive drinking.

In September, in a study requested by the Pentagon, the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded drug and alcohol abuse by military personnel constitutes a “public health crisis” and “both are detrimental to force readiness and psychological fitness.”