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21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative

21st Century Sailor and Marine – One Year Later

21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative

This blog post by Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the Honorable Juan M. Garcia, provides an overview of the  Navy’s 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative one year later.

A year ago we launched the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness and resilience across a spectrum of wellness and hone the most combat effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy. Sailors and Marines continue to be the Department’s most essential assets, and it is the duty of this Department’s leadership to do all we can to provide every individual member with the resources to maintain resiliency.

The DoN has seen tremendous progress in each of the following areas:


  • Renewed our commitment to reducing suicides and managing stress by providing Sailors and Marines with the support network, health care, and skills needed to overcome adversity and training leaders to recognize when Sailors and Marines need help.
  •  Increased our standards on drug testing, to deter use of use of synthetic chemical compounds or designer drugs like Spice and counter abuse of prescription drugs.
  • The Navy and Marine Corps approved the use of alcohol detection devices to promote safety, provide education and awareness that complement other unit efforts to promote responsible use of alcohol and deter alcohol abuse.

  • Our Family and Personal Preparedness programs are being reinvigorated, to include Work-Life Balance and Personal Financial Counseling Programs.


  • Sexual assault prevention and response remains a high priority for both the CNO, CMC and senior leaders. The services rolled out new training material for both our leadership and service members. This training is designed to provide leadership with the tools to promote a positive command climate and deliver training and guidance to Sailors and Marines, as well as, educate service members on the magnitude of the problem of sexual violence and understand the reporting options available to victims.
  • Strengthened our efforts to ensure the safe use of motor vehicles and motorcycles.
  • Ensured that our most senior leaders are setting the example of zero tolerance for drinking and driving; with formal policies to ensure any infraction is properly reviewed prior to promotion.

Physical Fitness: 

  • Improved nutrition standards at our dining facilities with the introduction of the “Fuel to Fight” nutrition program ensuring that healthy food items are available at every meal.
  • Ended discount “subsidies” for the sale of tobacco products in our exchanges and provide easy access to smoking cessation products at no cost.


  • Established a new robust DoN Diversity Office, with the ASN (M&RA) as the DoN’s diversity officer.

Continuum of Service:

  • Offered individuals selected for either separation or retirement a myriad of assistance programs and benefits. These programs, which include education benefits, transition assistance, career management training, counseling, life-work balance programs, and morale, welfare and recreation programs have been recognized by human resource experts as some of the best corporate level personnel support mechanisms in the nation.
  • Provided unparalleled support to our veterans and Wounded Warriors over the past year: in FY12, The Department of the Navy hired 10,867 Veterans (59 percent new hires); 2,540 disabled veterans (14 percent); and one in ten was a Wounded Warrior.

After a decade of sustained combat operations and as the threat of fiscal uncertainty continues, it is more important than ever to reinforce the significance of the pillars of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative. Moving forward, DoN leadership will continue to provide a confident, well-trained and healthy force, to maximize our greatest military advantage and the bedrock of our Navy and Marine Corps – our Sailors and Marines.

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