Essay on Managing Alcohol Use in Today’s Navy

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The military has faced problems with sailors and alcohol abuse since the inception of the navy over 200 years ago. Today, alcohol is a major part of the American culture and is present at almost every major social function. With alcohol so readily available, the question leaders answer is how to manage alcohol use in a way that maintains operational efficiency and good morale within the Navy.

It is common knowledge that during the formative years of the United States Navy alcohol played a major role in maritime life for sailors of all ranks. While out to sea, alcohol was used as a motivating force for the crew of any ship. Larger rations of alcohol were awarded for good performance and for poor performance; rations were limited or denied all together. In that time, this was the standard operating procedure for the military in general and was an accepted practice. Presently, due to the high level of risk involved with today’s Naval operations and the expected level of performance out of every sailor in the Navy, the use of alcohol is accompanied by strict rules and guidelines set by the Navy along with federal laws regarding alcohol in the workplace. According to OPNAVINST 5350.4D, “Alcohol and drug abuse undermines combat readiness and is incompatible with the maintenance of high standards of performance and military discipline” (OPNAVINST 5350.4D, p. 2). “Because of these negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse, the Department of Defense has set forth a comprehensive set of policies and programs to monitor, regulate, and/or eliminate drug and alcohol abuse among military personnel” (Bray, et al, 2012, p. 477). Alcohol abuse affects a sailor’s performance, ability to react to strenuous situations, and often negatively affe...

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... personally and professionally.

Works Cited

Bray, R. M., Marsden, M. E., Herbold, J. R., Peterson, M. R. (1992). Progress Toward Eliminating Drug and Alcohol Abuse among U.S. Military Personnel. Armed Forces & Society, 18.

Jacobson, I. G., Ryan, M. A. K., Hooper, T. I., Smith, T. C., Amoroso, P. J., Boyko, E. J., Gackstetter, G. D., Wells, T. S., Bell, N. S. (2008). Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Problem Before and After Military Combat Deployment. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 6.

Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Gordon, C. J.(2009). Leadership: Enhancing The Lessons of Experience. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Navy Personnel Command. Retrieved from

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, (2009). OPNAV INSTRUCTION 5350.4D. Department of the Navy, N135.

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