U.S. officials say Defense Secretary Ash Carter intends to double the length of maternity leave for female service members. He'll also work to boost time off for paternity leave and adoptions.

The proposal is part of Carter's ongoing effort to modernize the military and make it more competitive in recruiting. He's already pushed past Marine Corps objections to letting women apply for combat jobs and has expressed openness to letting transgender people serve openly.

The officials say Carter intends to expand health care coverage to include more benefits for women trying to get pregnant. And he will expand the hours and capacity of child care facilities.

The officials weren't authorized to discuss the plans publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.