Jan 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Navy basic training expands and will include focus on combatting extremism and sexual assault

Members of the United States Naval Academy freshman class lift logs during the annual Sea Trials training exercise at the U.S. Naval Academy on May 13, 2014 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Members of the U.S. Naval Academy freshman class lift logs during the annual Sea Trials training exercise in 2014 at the school in Annapolis, Md. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Navy announced Friday that it has added a two-week boot camp to its eight weeks of basic training to provide recruits with leadership and life skills that reinforce "character development with a warfighting spirit."

Driving the news: The boot camp also addresses suicide prevention and combat issues such as sexual assault, hazing and extremism, which have risen in recent years, the Associated Press reports.

Context: Sexual assaults jumped across all four military services to 20,500 in 2019. Suicides among active duty service members increased by 41% from 2015 to 2020.

The big picture: Navy officials said that expanding boot camp for recruits who arrive after Jan. 3 will "provide more leadership training and ensure sailors are reporting to their jobs in the fleet better prepared for duty," per AP.

  • “The additions were the result of fleet feedback and the hard work of all the staff here at RTC and throughout the Navy,” said Lt. Cmdr. Katy Bock, military training director, Recruit Training Command, according to the Navy release. “Every recruit now graduates with more tools and skills to make them more effective and combat ready Sailors.”
  • The added training will also teach recruits how to respond when they're faced with life-threatening situations such as fires, collisions and more, Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture said, per AP.
  • The added two weeks is the first major restructuring in recruit training in almost 20 years, AP notes.

What they're saying: “We’re telling our recruits ... here are all of the things that we expect you to do, and here’s how we expect you to behave and act,” Couture said, per AP.

  • “We believe very strongly that those types of behaviors are directly impacting our fighting readiness and the performance of our sailors,” she added.
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