Marines may now be removed from the Marine Corps for sharing nude photos online.
The service updated its policy yesterday to strictly punish any Marine who shares a nude photo online without the other person’s consent.
The policy comes as the Marine Corps is embroiled in the Marines United scandal, where current and former Marines put photos of naked female Marines online. In some cases those photos were taken without the women’s consent.
The Marines in question also allegedly used sexual violent language to degrade those women.
The new provision is part of the Marine Corps separation manual and states Marines will be kicked out of the service for “the distribution or broadcasting of an intimate image, without consent, if done for personal gain; or with the intent to humiliate, harm, harass, intimidate, threated or coerce the depicted person.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee was contacted, but did not have any comment on the change in policy.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Robert Neller called the scandal “embarrassing to our Corps, to our families and to our nation.”
The Marines United site may have been sharing photos for years.
The Marine Corps updated its social media policy in March when the scandal gained traction, reminding Marines they can be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“Existing orders and the UCMJ have long prohibited sexual or other harassment, fraternization, retaliation, reprisal and hazing. Marines are reminded that their conduct, even off-duty or online, may violate Navy and Marine Corps orders and regulations,” the policy stated.
The Army followed suit and released a letter on the conduct of soldiers.
The March 17 letter stated the Army expects “leaders and influencers from the squad level up to talk about and demonstrate what respect looks like at work, at home and online.”
To date, the Marines have identified more than 1,200 screen names in relation to Marines United — 725 belong to active-duty Marines, 150 to reservist and the rest to sailors and civilians. About 30,000 people used the site.
Not all are involved with the incident.
The FBI and other military services are looking into other instances of photo sharing.
Army Director of Personnel Management Maj. Gen. Jason Evans said during a March 21 House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee hearing there is an ongoing, multi-service investigation into links between blogs on Tumblr and photo sharing on the Marines United site.
That investigation is looking into photos that may involve service members from more than one military branch.
As the scandal is unfolding, the Navy is pushing a new Leadership Development Framework throughout the service.
One of the most notable features of the framework is its emphasis on personal character.
“Character applies in an operational setting — it’s not just for the classroom. The best leaders mention it at briefs, during execution, and during debriefs. They get out in front and avoid bad decisions. The strongest message comes through their personal example,” the framework stated.
CNO Adm. John Richardson told Federal News Radio the leadership framework is meant as a wake up call.
“Particularly in the maritime we’ve enjoyed preeminence. Those times are coming to a close and we are being contested now in some very important parts of the world and so there is this return to competition. There is a need for leadership,” Richardson said.