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Obama Administration Ignores Sound Military Advice on Women in Direct Ground Combat

December 4, 2015
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Yesterday, President Barack Obama and Secretary Carter overruled the best professional advice of the U.S. Marine Corps in matters involving life, death, and national security.  Secretary Carter also broke his own promise to base his decision on the quality of scientific research behind the military services’ recommendations. 

This Executive Summary of the Interim CMR Special Report – Part II, which CMR released on Tuesday, highlights in Section A empirical data and findings that the Secretary has ignored at great peril.  Section B refutes unworkable “mitigation” proposals that the services are supposed to implement by April Fool’s Day, 2016.

During his briefing Secretary Carter was asked whether the Marines’ research, which supported a request for exceptions, was flawed. Secretary Carter, who looked downcast and uneasy, could not do so.  He is nevertheless forcing the services to implement deeply flawed policies that will cause lives to be lost, missions to fail, and the number of female disabled veterans to increase. 

After nine months of scientifically monitored task force field tests, University of Pittsburgh researchers reported that all-male USMC task force units outperformed gender-mixed units in 69 percent (93 of 134) of ground combat tasks.  Physical deficiencies evident in these field tests will undermine “survivability and lethality” in war ˗˗ the two paramount factors that the Marines identified in their report. (quoting the August 18 memorandum signed by Brig. Gen. George W. Smith, Jr., Director of the USMC Force Innovation Office) 

Secretary Carter’s unsupported claims that combat effectiveness will not degrade cannot withstand comparison with empirical data that the Marines produced in support of their now-overruled request for exceptions.  His claim that there will be no quotas also stands in direct conflict with the administration’s stated priority: “gender diversity metrics” (quotas) of 25% women in the Navy and other services. 

In order to meet these quotas, officials will have to implement the “Dempsey Rule,” named for the January 2013 admission of former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey that standards too high for women would be questioned.  Gender diversity quotas eventually will lower standards to levels that are equal but lower than before.  This will happen without notice to Congress or accountability for the dangerous results.

Female-friendly training will leave men less prepared for harsh combat realities that will not change.  It will also leave women more likely to suffer disproportionate injuries and resentment they don’t deserve. 

Yesterday Secretary Carter confirmed that orders for women to fight ISIS will not be voluntary.  The word “allowed” (into direct ground combat units) therefore, does not apply.  Rates of injury known to be double and even higher in the infantry and other combat arms units are the unequal price that women will have to pay. 

Young women considering a military career should note that Secretary Carter callously disregarded the Marines’ stated concern that women will be put at a competitive disadvantage relative to their male peers in fighting teams such as the infantry. 

According to Defense Department surveys of youth propensity to serve cited in the Interim Report – Part II, recruiting and retention will suffer.  The most recent youth surveys must be dismal – Pentagon officials have refused to release them.  We’ve yet to see responses to Marine surveys of the troops, but in an official Army survey 92.5% of Army women said they do not want this.

Members of Congress share the blame for high-handed administration orders that will likely cause federal courts to impose Selective Service obligations on unsuspecting civilian women. 

The Center for Military Readiness will survey all presidential candidates to help voters elect a new Commander-in-Chief who will respect the experience and advice of military leaders who understand the brutality of ground combat.  CMR also will continue to report on what happens when military women suffer disproportionate injuries preparing to fight ISIS.

By the time the next president takes office, even more compelling facts than those available today will make it necessary to reverse what this Administration has done to the All-Volunteer Force.
 

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