The Navy’s chief of personnel told sailors in Japan last week that he’d like to see the service increase paternity leave for new fathers from the current standard of 10 days to as many as 21.

Navy officials have no timeline, however, for when the changes would be implemented, as discussions on the matter continue with Department of Defense. As it stands, things appear to be at odds over how much leave should be authorized.

In 2016, DoD asked Congress to approve an increase of paternity leave from 10 to 14 days. But in the law, which went into effect with the 2017 defense budget, Congress set the maximum number of allotted days at 21. For individual services to be able to put their own new policy in place, DoD must first set the standard.

“I think there’s going to be dialog...about that — we think that 14 days is about the right time,” said Command Sergeant Major John Troxell, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Jan. 23 roundtable of Military Times reporters and editors.

“The Navy wanted 21 days(in the 2016 original discussions) and some of the other services wanted seven days. If the law is 21 days, we’re not going circumvent the law, but there’s going to be a dialogue.

Troxell said DoD wants to have a common policy that lays out the exact number of allotted days across all services, but didn’t have a definitive idea as to how long the discussions might take.

“We want to make it easier on a family when they’re having a child,” he said. “We’ve proven in the military that you can be a great warrior and you can also be a great parent.”

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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