Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Corps has lost more than 25,000 Marines to misconduct over the past decade
The Marine Corps has lost more than 25,000 Marines to misconduct over the past decade, according to Commandant Gen. David Berger.
In his 2019 Commandant's Planning Guidance, Berger said that the Corps "continued loss of 8,000 Marines per year to non-EAS attrition is unacceptable," using an acronym to describe the end of active service in an enlistment.
A total of 25,336 Marines were booted from the Corps between 2009 and 2019; 11,765 were for drug and alcohol offenses, while 13,571 were over unspecified misconduct.
"This must change," Berger wrote, noting that the cost to replace that many Marines was in excess of $1 billion.
Interestingly, that number should be even higher, as its section on drug use reveals. Since Oct. 2017, 2,410 Marines tested positive for illegal drug use, but only 1,175, or 48.8%, had been separated. "I am deeply troubled by the continued retention of Marines failing to adhere to our standards related to drug use."
"We are an elite institution of warriors, and will remain so on my watch," Berger wrote. "It is our shared responsibility to ensure the continued health of our collective soul and identity."
Toward the end of the 26-page document, which largely focused on changes Berger intended to implement as the top Marine officer, the new commandant talked about misconduct in the force and what he called "destructive" behavior.
Of sexual assault, for example, Berger said that despite the Corps' efforts, "the continued rise in reporting leads me to conclude that we still do not fully understand the scope and scale of this issue, or that we can say with any confident that the measures we have taken to date are preventing sexual assaults."
The number of reported sexual assaults in the Marine Corps rose by 20% in fiscal year 2018, according to the most recent DoD statistics. Meanwhile, Berger said that he believes hazing is "likely underreported," and the Corps had likewise seen an increase in reports of hazing over the past four years.
"Hazing is both a crime and evidence of poor leadership by our [staff non-commissioned officers] and officers," Berger wrote.
The Corps has had a number of high-profile incidents of misconduct this year, with six commanding officers being relieved of command in just the past two months alone. Berger, for his part, said that commanders should be held accountable whenever they fail to measure up to the service's standards.
"When we fail to hold the standard, we establish new lower standards. Elite organizations do not accept mediocrity and they do not look the other way when teammates come up short of expectations. We must hold each other accountable," Berger wrote.
"There is no place in our Marine Corps for those who deliberately misuse their authority to physically or sexually assault another; no place for those who risk the lives of those they seek to serve by operating a motor vehicle while impaired; no place for those who are intolerant of their fellow Marines' gender or sexual orientation; no place for those who engage in domestic violence; and no place for racists – whether their intolerance and prejudice be direct or indirect, intentional or unintentional."
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"