Posted on January 10, 2022

Navy Expands Boot Camp to Sharpen Focus On Character Issues

Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press, January 7, 2022

The Navy is adding two weeks to boot camp this year in a major overhaul aimed at improving recruits’ war fighting and emergency skills while also focusing on suicide prevention and character issues such as sexual assault, hazing and extremism in the ranks.

Navy officials said Friday that expanding boot camp to 10 weeks will provide more leadership training and ensure sailors are reporting to their jobs in the fleet better prepared for duty.

The changes come as the Navy grapples with a string of shipboard crises in recent years, from deadly fires to disastrous collisions, and the military struggles with spikes in suicides as well as sexual assaults and other bad behavior.

Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture, who heads the Naval Service Training Command, told reporters the first eight weeks of boot camp include a lot of character development for the recruits. The added two weeks, she said, are meant to be a “reinforcing mechanism.”

“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,” she said, adding that it involves treating people with respect and holding peers accountable. “We believe very strongly that those types of behaviors are directly impacting our fighting readiness and the performance of our sailors.”