Protect Our Defenders News Blog



Washington DC – Today, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger acknowledged the U.S. Marine Corps’ failure to retain over 25,000 Marines due to misconduct over the past decade in his 2019 Commandant’s Planning Guidance. A total of 25,336 Marines were released from the Corps between 2009 and 2019; 11,765 were for drug and alcohol offenses, while 13,571 were over unspecified misconduct. The total cost to replace the Marines lost was in excess of $1 billion.

One of the main contributing factors to this “destructive behavior” is the crisis of sexual assault plaguing the United States Military, including the Marine Corps. A Pentagon report from earlier this year showed sexual assault reports up 20 percent across the Corps based on data from 2017 to 2018. In his guidance, Berger wrote of the sexual assault epidemic: “the continued rise in reporting leads me to conclude that we still do not fully understand the scope and scale of this issue, or that we can say with any confident [sic] that the measures we have taken to date are preventing sexual assaults.”

Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:

“The admitted lack of attention the Marine Corps has given sexual assault is clearly affecting our military readiness and putting our country at risk. This problem does not just affect those who serve, but our security as a nation. Commandant Berger’s Planning Guidance shows in stark terms the enormous cost that the sexual assault crisis is having on our armed forces – both in terms of actual dollars and impact on the women and men who serve our country.

“While this admission is incredibly disturbing in and of itself, when coupled with the military’s broken promises and assurances that they are the solution to stopping sexual assault, it becomes utterly revolting.”

USNI News: Gen. Berger’s Strategic Guidance to the Marine Corps:

Task & Purpose: The Corps Has Lost More than 25,000 Marines to Misconduct Over the Past Decade:

Marine Times: Sexual Assault Reports Across the Corps Up 20 Percent: 

About Protect Our Defenders:

Protect Our Defenders (POD) is a human rights organization. We are the only national organization solely dedicated to ending the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military and to combating a culture of pervasive misogyny, sexual harassment and retribution against victims. We honor, support and give voice to survivors of military sexual assault and harassment – including service members, veterans and civilians assaulted by members of the military. We seek reform to ensure all survivors are provided a safe, respectful work environment and have access to a fair, impartially administered system of justice. Like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at