USMC Update: Marines United Response

May 19, 2017

The Marine Corps invited MOAA to a briefing by the Assistant Commandant, Gen. Glenn Walters, to discuss the service's response to the Marines United scandal and broader cultural issues within the organization. The changes are dramatic and far-reaching.

The Marine Corps has the fewest number of women and it has had the most public struggles with gender integration. The recent incident of Marines and others sharing inappropriate photos of women Marines on a private Facebook page appears to have been the last straw.

Marines United Image

Following the scandal, investigators set up a task force to find those responsible for posting, sharing, and commenting on the photos of women Marines. To date, 40 Marine perpetrators have been identified. Disciplinary action is pending in a majority of those cases. 

Gen. Walters explained his primary focus is getting the perpetrators out of the Marine Corps using whatever means possible. He also indicated the commandant would not hesitate to relieve commanding officers who allow this conduct to occur in their commands, pointing out he relieved eight commanding officers in the past year. 

Another senior Marine official had a stern warning for the Marines United group: “Disassociate yourself, don't use 'Marine' in your name because, whatever you are, you are not a part of the Marine Corps.” 

Recognizing the Marines United scandal was a symptom of a broader problem throughout the service, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller formed a task force to address cultural change and gender diversity Corps-wide. The task force is comprised of Marines and civilian-experts on organizational change, 40 percent of whom are women.  

Initial plans are to impart cultural change from recruitment through a Marine's entire career, including transition from service. The Marine Corps released a new recruiting commercial featuring women that it had been developing since last year. It also has been targeting women for recruiting in other ways, such as using outreach to encourage women to join the Marine Corps flight program.  

The service's efforts appear to be paying off; almost 10 percent of all new recruits are women.  

Other changes include the development of a new Talent Management Office within the Marine Corps that will work to ensure gender diversity throughout the Corps' ranks and occupational fields.  

When it comes to those who are transitioning from their military careers, Gen. Walters explained, “Marine alumni are the key to policing alumni” and called on Marines of all eras to uphold the highest standards of the Corps.  

MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), said, “It is very encouraging to see the transparency with which the Marine Corps is proceeding and the comprehensive approach to addressing gender diversity throughout the Corps. The Marine Corps' determination is obvious in the actions they are already taking and MOAA looks forward to continuing the effort with them.”

Further, the Marine Corps is open to any and all ideas about how to change culture within the Corps to one that is dignified and respectful of all Marines. If you have ideas, email them to



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