The move would make online violations -such as sharing nude photos without the subject’s consent- a violation akin to sexual assault.
Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Lieutenant General Mark Brilakis said that a task force set up in response to the Marines United scandal has been mulling over the idea.
“There is mandatory processing for administrative separation in a number of different cases. Use of drugs requires mandatory administrative processing, sexual harassment requires mandatory administrative processing, sexual assault requires mandatory administrative processing,” Brilakis said, following a congressional hearing on military social media policies in DC. “We are considering whether events wrapped up in Marines United, those things, would rise to the level where the commandant would recommend or direct me to begin mandatory administrative processing for separation”
While processing doesn’t automatically guarantee that an individual will be booted from service, it does serve as a black mark on one’s service record, indicating that a situation was so severe that one’s chain of command at one time considered separating an individual for their transgressions.
On Tuesday, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Robert Burke told the House Armed Services subcommittee on personnel that the Navy is considering a similar step to the Marine Corps.
“We are reviewing the [Uniform Code of Military Justice] and Navy policy governing mandatory administrative separation to ensure they are adequate,” he said.
While the policies reflect branches looking to correct a problem quickly amid government pressure, the idea is nothing new. In the 1980s, a similar approach was devised to handle drug abuse and, more recently, sexual harassment and assault.
New Hampshire Democrat Rep. Carol Shea-Porter called on the military to arbitrarily boot offenders, citing justification via documentation on enlistment standards.
“I don’t know why we have to debate and you tell them at the very beginning and you sign off saying their behaviors are unacceptable,” she said. “I don’t understand why we have to then pursue many various avenues. Do you still have the power to throw them out if it’s very clear they can’t do this?”
According to Military.com, Brilakis dismissed the Congresswoman’s draconian approach, emphasizing that every American in uniform deserves due process and will continue to receive it.
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