Army Official Hits Marines, Runs

letters@govexec.com

The Army's top female civilian resigned Friday after apologizing to the Marine Corps for calling Marines "extremists."

The Associated Press reported that Sara Lister, the Army's assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, decided to quit after receiving heavy criticism for her comment.

At a conference of military personnel and scholars in Baltimore on Oct. 26, Lister said "Marines are extremists. Wherever you have extremists, you've got some risks of total disconnection with society. And that's a little dangerous." Lister went on to poke fun at Marines' uniforms, saying "they have all these checkerboard fancy uniforms and stuff." Lister's remarks were reported Thursday by The Washington Times.

Her comments sparked criticism from many corners. Gen. Charles Krulak, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, defended the service in a statement.

Lister's statement, said Krulak, "would summarily dismiss 222 years of sacrifice and dedication to the nation. It would dishonor the hundreds of thousands of Marines whose blood has been shed in the name of freedom."

The House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution calling for Lister's removal and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., sent a letter to President Clinton demanding that he fire her. Lister had already announced in September that she would leave her position at the end of this month, but moved up her departure following the heavy criticism.

On Thursday Lister sent a letter of apology to Krulak, saying that her remarks were "taken out of context."

"My point--ineptly put--was that all the services had different relationships with civilian society, based in part on their culture, the size of their force and their mission. My use of the word 'extremism' was inappropriate and wrong," Lister wrote.

Krulak accepted the apology for what he called Lister's "disparaging remarks." Defense Department Spokesman Kenneth Bacon said Defense Secretary William Cohen was satisfied with Lister's apology. "He agrees with her 100 percent that the remarks were inappropriate and wrong," Bacon said. "We live in a world where people make mistakes and they apologize for the mistakes and move on."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.