House mulls adding Marine Corps to department name
January 10, 2009
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are once again pushing to change the Department of the Navy’s name to include the Marine Corps.
But this year, it might actually get done.
For the eighth year in a row, members of the House will consider legislation officially redesignating it as "The Department of the Navy and Marine Corps" in an effort to better recognize the work of the Corps.
Republican Rep. Walter Jones, whose North Carolina district includes Camp Lejeune, has been the leader in the effort, introducing legislation each session since 2001 to make the change. This week he repeated his belief that the Navy-only name disrespects members of the Corps.
Jones said he is particularly upset by sympathy letters and other official paperwork from the Department of the Navy to the families of fallen Marines, which typically make only passing mention of the Corps.
"This legislation is not about changing the responsibilities of the secretary, reallocating resources between the Navy and Marine Corps or altering the course of their missions," he said in a statement.
"Rather, it is about showing the nation the true meaning of the department and recognizing the overall importance of the Marine Corps to our national security."
The House has repeatedly backed the idea, even without clear figures on how much changes to stationery and equipment might cost.
But the measure has always stalled in the Senate, where former Virginia Sen. John Warner was a vocal opponent.
Last year he said there was "no compelling reason" for the change and for ending "208 years of tradition … that has served both services so well."
Warner retired from the Senate earlier this month.
Officials from Jones’ office said so far they have not heard strong objections from others in the Senate.
House officials have not scheduled any hearings on the legislation, but in recent years have opted instead to insert the proposal in early drafts of the annual defense budget bills.
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