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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.

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

1 hour ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker