Marines could soon be ordered to take alcohol breath tests as part of an initiative expected to be announced by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
Details are unclear, but Marine Corps officials have confirmed that the use of Breathalyzers will be part of an overall wellness program Mabus has dubbed his “21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative.” The secretary was scheduled to outline details of the initiative to Marines and sailors on Feb. 15.
Officials at Headquarters Marine Corps familiar with the program say it will address issues related to behavioral health, including suicide and sexual assault prevention, substance abuse and other combat readiness issues.
In summer 2009, Navy submarine commanders were authorized to use Breathalyzers as part of a crackdown on alcohol abuse. In ensuing years, surface commanders started using the device to conduct random tests and drunk-driving rates began to fall.
The Marine officials could not say how the breath-test devices would be used in the Corps.