Pentagon once again nixes Navy name change
Citing costs and a potential impact on morale, the Defense Department has once again declined to support legislation that would change the name of the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.
A bipartisan band of lawmakers have tried for years to get the Marine Corps added to the official name of the Department of the Navy, arguing among other reasons that the families of Marines killed in action deserve to see the name of their son or daughter's military branch on letters of condolence from the Pentagon. As in previous years, the bill is included in the House's version of this year's defense spending bill, but not in the Senate version -- and probably won't get in the final version yet again.
In a letter released Monday, Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Marine Corps is a "fully integrated, equal part of a great Navy and Marine Corps team," but that renaming the department would add several hundred thousands of dollars a year in extra expenses and "would not enhance the standing or reputation of the Marine Corps."
"A re-designation could be viewed as more than symbolic, and could easily be misinterpreted as a step away from the heritage and tradition of a strong Navy and Marine Corps team," Johnson wrote in a letter to Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who does not support the name change.
The cost argument seems the strongest, considering the Obama administration's renewed push to slash 5 percent from agency budgets, a plan modeled on the Pentagon's new budget cut program.
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| June 8, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories: Congress, Military
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