- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The nation’s top Marine, Commandant Gen. David Berger, took to social media Tuesday morning to stress the service’s “most important matters.”

A series of eight tweets telegraphed a wide range of areas the officer wants his chain of command to focus on in 2020, which includes a push for more female infantry officers and and examination of the cost of one-year paid maternity leave.

Gen. Berger wrote:

  • “While I am aware of the good work already being done across the force in support of my planning guidance implementation, these are some of my most important matters for immediate execution. (1/8)”
  • “Review and update any service policies for enlistment and officer candidacy to disqualify any applicant with a previous conviction for sex or gender-based violence, to include domestic violence. (2/8)”
  • “Identify the costs associated with implementing a new one-year paid maternity leave policy, along with the benefits and risks, and make a formal recommendation. (3/8)”
  • “Revise the current parental leave policy to include parental leave for adoptive parents, to include same-sex couples. (4/8)”
  • “Establish a new policy reason the minimum GT score for 0311s to 100 within the next 6 months unless there is analysis that suggests irreparable damage to our recruiting effort or operational readiness. (5/8)”
  • “Determine feasibility of identifying and recruiting for return-to-active-duty selected female Marines currently in the SMCR and IRR, with a focus on previously gender-restricted units and job specialties. (6/8)”
  • “Seek qualified active duty female company-grade volunteers for the opportunity to attend Infantry Officers Course and assignment to infantry battalions upon completion. To also include additional lateral moves for female Marines seeking careers in previously restricted MOS. (7/8)”
  • “Eliminate non-observed academic fitness reports at all resident PME schools and include mandatory comments stating the MRO’s academic standing. (8/8)”

Maj. Eric Flanagan, a spokesman for the commandant, told Marine Corps Times in a Friday phone call that readers should not misinterpret the officer’s comments as a change in the existing policy.

Instead, Maj. Flanagan said the tweets were meant to emphasize the desire for research into the issues.

“A few of the issues mentioned in tweets ― regarding banning those with sexual or domestic violence convictions from becoming Marines and including adoptive parents and same-sex parents in Marine parental leave policy ― already are part of Marine Corps’ policy, however,” the newspaper noted.

The commandant’s office did not reply to its request for clarification prior to publication.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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