During a Wednesday address to the US Naval Academy, Ray Mabus, Navy Secretary, is planning to unveil those initiatives and policy changes that should improve the careers of sailors and marines.
The US Navy is prepared to go to significant lengths in order to retain talented female marines, Mabus suggested. Therefore, some of the policy changes will specifically target female sailors and Marines.
Mabus’ proposal includes doubling paid maternity leave (of maximum 12 weeks) as well as longer day-care hours and improved co-location policies for Navy or military couples.
But the Navy secretary’s proposal also includes a number of other initiatives. Heralding a new campaign of work quality, the Navy is also preparing to issue policies concerning fair fitness standards (while also softening body fat requirements).
The issue of body fat has been repeatedly discussed and since 2014, Navy personnel has been working on reevaluating sailor’s bi-annual body composition measurements. Overall, the Navy is attempting to decide on the best measurement techniques for sailors and how these can correctly assess (and improve) their health when necessary.
The Navy would also like to enforce spot checks aimed at informing sailors and their superiors about their current level of fitness between testing periods. Such spot checks would, according to the initiative, be non-punitive.
The Defense Department has more lenient body fat requirements and, as long as sailors are within the DoD’s standards, despite exceeding the Navy’s requirements, they would still be allowed to take their Physical Readiness Test.
Career flexibility is also a hot topic and the Navy Secretary has proposed career intermission programs, which should provide sailors and marines with the necessary time to focus on educational (or even personal) goals.
Women are now able to apply for a plethora of positions, as the Navy and Marine Corps have decided to increase women recruiting by opening up those jobs which were, until recently, closed to them.
“People come in the door and maybe they don’t know that these tech opportunities exist,” Secretary Mabus said, underlining this shift in perspective.
For all intents and purposes, women are now free to pursue a career as a yeoman if they so desire.
Overall, Secretary Mabus wishes to increase female recruiting to 25% for the navy and 5% for the Marines. According to Mabus, there’s a clear discrepancy between the overall number of female graduates (especially in science, technology, or engineering colleges) and the number of female marines or sailors.
This approach should, Mabus explains, better reflect the American society by integrating both female and male recruits and offering them the jobs they desire.
Whether the issue will spark significant controversy, though, remains to be seen as former Navy recruits and Marines have already voiced concerns about the potential downsides of lowering some of these standards.
Image Source: Navy Times
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