Story Number: NNS120509-13 Release Date: 5/9/2012 10:39:00 PM
GROTON, Conn. (NNS) — The Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Manpower and Reserve Affairs spoke with Sailors at the nation’s first submarine base, Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE), May 9, and highlighted the Navy’s recent initiative to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness: the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative.
Juan M. Garcia III, addressed two “all hands calls” at the base’s Dealey Center Theater and discussed a wide range of topics focused in the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative’s five key areas: readiness, safety, physical fitness, inclusion, and continuum of service.
Garcia pointed out that in June 2010, the Submarine Force led the way testing the readiness initiative which introduced the use of breathalyzers to curb alcohol abuse in the Navy.
“The submarine community was the key pilot group and they began the pilot testing of the breathalyzer a year in advance,” said Garcia. “They saw a 45 percent drop in alcohol related incidents and this played a key role in the Secretary’s, CNO’s, and Commandant of the Marine Corps decision to implement this fleet-wide.”
That testing involved Pacific Submarine Force units but as across the fleet there are 108 cases of driving under the influence (DUI) that take place each month, Garcia believes random fleet-wide breathalyzer testing will help to curb that trend.
“This is not punitive; unlike random urinalysis, this does not resort in automatic administrative processing or NJP,” said Garcia. “We want to create a more safe environment for our Sailors. We want to make sure that when our Sailors are maintaining some of the most advanced technology in the world paid for by taxpayer’s dollars, that they are fully capable of doing it safely.”
Garcia also emphasized that the breathalyzer testing will involve all ranks and positions.
“We will not discriminate,” he said. “No Sailor, regardless of rank, will be exempt from being tested.”
All Sailors reporting for duty will be subject to the random testing, but the initiative is not intended as a means to screen personnel returning to their ship or submarine from liberty, Garcia stated.
As has been the standard in the fleet even before this breathalyzer testing initiative, commanding officers will always have the discretion to investigate into whether or not one of their Sailors is fit for duty said Garcia.
Garcia hoped the message that SUBASE Sailors took away as they left the all hands calls” was a positive one and that they understood that it was their Sailor readiness and futures that were the driving force behind such 21st Century Sailor and Marine readiness initiatives like breathalyzer testing.
“This is a leadership tool for Navy leaders such as chiefs and LPOs to do what they have always done, to exercise intrusive leadership and recognize a trend before it may become a career debilitating incident or worse, a life threatening incident,” said Garcia.
The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Navy and Marine Corps.
For more information on the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, visit: www.21stcentury.navy.mil.