News and Commentary

New Pentagon Rule Includes Ban On ‘Offensive Jokes’ And ‘Put-Downs’

A new Pentagon policy targeting harassment includes a crackdown on “offensive jokes” and “put-downs.”

The 23-page set of regulations, Department of Defense Instruction 1020.03: “Harassment Prevention and Response in the Armed Forces,” was released by the Pentagon on Thursday. The document outlines a “comprehensive, DoD-wide military harassment prevention and response program.”

The Military Times reports:

According to the instruction, “harassment may include offensive jokes, epithets, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs,” as well as physical threats or racially-tinged interactions that “creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis claims the new rule is a product of the times and will not affect military camaraderie.

“You have to adapt to your times,” Mattis said. “There’s a rough, good humor among soldiers. We all know that. But I have never seen rough good humor countenance or in any way frame something that’s disgusting, repellent or something like that.”

“I don’t want to lose all sense of humor in the military,” he continued. “But I have never seen an ounce of belief in the military that you can denigrate someone.”

General Mattis himself is known for his intensity and tough, colorful language.

According to Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White, implementation plans of the new rule must be provided in the next 60 days, notes the Times.

“We are doing this because we owe our all-volunteer force every protection,” said White.