Army Official Hits Marines, Runs

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.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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