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military matters

Navy secretary will announce plans to double maternity leave, open more jobs to women

On Wednesday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will announce during a speech to the U.S. Naval Academy new initiatives and policy changes meant to improve the quality of life for sailors and Marines.

A senior Navy official told Navy Times that Mabus will share plans to double paid maternity leave to 12 weeks, overhaul the body composition assessment for sailors that takes place twice a year, and update the co-location policy for dual military couples.

Mabus has spent much of his tenure as secretary integrating women, Navy Times reports, and he wants to not only recruit more women, but also let them know the jobs available to them in the Navy and Marine Corps; the source said that if a woman wants to be a yeoman, the Navy will give her the job without asking too many questions. "What we're doing now is, people come in the door and maybe they don't know that these tech opportunities exist," he said. "Maybe they don’t know that they're qualified for those technical opportunities." All of the initiatives are expected to be completed by 2018.