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Marines observe an Amphibious Assault Vehicle landing during Bold Alligator 2012.

21st Century Sailor and Marine in Detail

This blog post introduces, “21st Century Sailor and Marine,” a Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus-initiative designed to consolidate a set of objectives – new and existing – to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness. To meet this level of readiness, above anything we must remember that people are our most important asset. After more than a decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, our resiliency will be important in re-focusing the team’s efforts moving forward. Equipping our Sailors and Marines – regardless of race or gender – and their families with the tools to face all challenges is paramount in the success of this initiative. To keep a capable and ready Navy and Marine Corps team, we must preserve the skill and talent Sailors and Marines bring to the fight. The initiative’s five categories, or “areas” of readiness, safety, physical fitness, inclusion and especially continuum of service, will not only hold value while service members are in the military, it will also provide an effective foundation to succeed for the rest of their lives.



“The new defense strategy will put increased responsibilities on the Navy and Marine Corps in the years to come.
You are the department’s most essential asset, and it is the duty of the department’s leadership to do all we can to provide each individual Sailor and Marine with the resources to maintain that resiliency.” – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus 

After a decade of hard and effective fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Navy and Marine Corps Team has proven it can withstand a sustained, high operational tempo.  Sailors, Marines, and their families must be equipped to continue to meet both the physical and mental challenges of a military career.  The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative puts together a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize each Sailor’s and Marine’s personal readiness.  This initiative will advance progress by leveraging programs under the following five areas.

Marines arrive on USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) during Bold Alligator 2012.


  • Reduce suicides and manage stress by providing Sailors with the support network, health care, and skills needed to overcome adversity and training leaders to recognize when Sailors need help.
  • Curb alcohol abuse and bring down the number of alcohol related incidents which can end careers and sometimes end lives.
  • Reinforce the Navy’s zero tolerance policy on the use of synthetic chemical compounds or designer drugs, including synthetic substances like Spice.


Marines observe an Amphibious Assault Vehicle landing during Bold Alligator 2012.

Physical Fitness

  • Move from a “culture of testing” to a culture of physical readiness by strengthening PRT requirements and providing better nutrition options.


Sailors reenlist on Mount Suribachi.

Continuum of Service

  • Recruit Sailors once and retain them for life through flexible service options that provide opportunities for meaningful and valued work across a career whether in the Navy Reserves or in the civilian workforce.
  • Provide tools for life after the Navy to Wounded Warriors and those impacted by force-management actions.

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