Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has directed top Marine leaders to remove Confederate-related paraphernalia from the service's bases worldwide.
Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Eric Flanagan demurred on the topic of what types of paraphernalia the general wants removed.
"Last week, the Commandant of the Marine Corps directed specific tasks be reviewed or addressed by Headquarters Marine Corps staff," Flanagan said. "Many of the tasks were published on Twitter Friday. Other tasks not published previously are mostly administrative matters."
Berger's memo, which was obtained by Marine Corps Times and military.com this week, comes less than a month after the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on what it called "alarming incidents of white supremacy in the military."
According to a survey of active-duty Military Times readers published Feb. 6, more than one-third of all active-duty troops and more than half of minority service members say they have witnessed examples of white nationalism or ideological racism among service members in recent months.
Poll takers offered examples such as racist language and attitudes, but also swastikas on service members' cars, white supremacist group-affiliated tattoos, pro-Ku Klux Klan stickers and Nazi-style salutes between individuals.
At the Feb. 11, hearing Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., chair of the HASC subcommittee on military personnel, said the military is not responding adequately to white nationalist activity in active ranks.
"I don't think the military takes this threat seriously enough, has the tools it needs, or dedicates sufficient resources to the threat," Speier said. "Our accessions and vetting enterprise lumps white supremacist activity in with gang affiliation, rather than treat it as a national security issue on par with foreign terror. That lack of urgency and focus trickles down to commanders and enlisted leaders, who don't appear to be sufficiently apprised of this threat or taught how to deal with it."
The directive was listed in a memo along with several other initiatives Berger has prioritized for immediate execution, along with yearlong maternity leave for female Marines and parental leave for same-sex partners.
Berger also directed leaders to find ways to move women into combat jobs, and to review service and promotion policies to disqualify those with previous convictions for "sex or gender-based violence, including domestic violence."
Berger's directive also comes amid several years of national conversation about the display of Confederate insignia and monuments to Confederate leaders -- and in some cases, the toppling of monuments or removal of flags by activists and governments.