Sea Battle

By Christopher J. Castelli / June 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) today released a letter from the Pentagon stating the department's opposition to House legislation that would add mention of the Marine Corps to name of the Navy Department and the title of the Navy secretary.

The House Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill includes the provision, which is the brainchild of Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). In recent years, House authorizers have repeatedly tried and failed to enact the proposal, which has never survived the conference process with the Senate Armed Services Committee. The May 26 letter from DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson is the latest shot across the legislation's bow.

"In our view, the renaming of the Department is unnecessary, would incur additional expense of several hundred thousand dollars a year over the next several years (according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate) and would not enhance the standing or reputation of the Marine Corps," Johnson writes. "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." The Navy and Marine Corps have been one team led by one secretary since Benjamin Stoddert was named the first Navy secretary by President Adams in 1798, Johnson notes.