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Posted on Jan 31, 2014 Print this Article

Issue 32: January 2014

In previous State of the Union speeches, President Barack Obama called for radical policy changes to promote social engineering in the military. He rarely mentions the harmful consequences of changes already made, or the high costs and risks of misguided policies he intends to impose in the future.

That information can be found on the website of the Center for Military Readiness, as highlighted below. This edition of CMR E-Notes provides background and analysis of two major issues on the current agenda of public discussion: Women in Land Combat and Religious Liberty in the Military. 

A. Women in Land Combat


At the end of 2013, the Marines had to face reality when 55% of female trainees (compared to 1% of the men) were not able to perform three pull-ups, the minimum requirement on a new physical fitness test at boot camp.  What happened?

Today's female recruits are just as capable as women previously trained at the Parris Island boot camp, and practice training began more than a year ago. The problem began when the Obama Administration ordered the armed forces to prepare women for land combat units, such as the infantry, artillery, armor, and Special Operations Forces, by January 2016.

Contrary to a recent article signed by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, unit cohesion is about mutual trust for survival in combat. In direct ground combat units that attack the enemy, survival and mission accomplishment often depend on physical strength and endurance.  There is no question that women have served with courage and honor "In Harm's Way," but there is no evidence that they are interchangeable with men in the combat arms.

In light of recent evidence of well-documentedphysiological differences, plans to treat women like men in the combat arms should be re-assessed.  General Dempsey has insisted that standards will not be "artificially lowered."  Actually, in the "validation" process they will be deliberately questioned, lowered, gender-normed, or omitted if they do not serve "gender diversity" goals.

As General Dempsey himself said in January 2013, if a standard is so tough that "women couldn't make it" the burden will be on the service to "come back and explain . . . why is it that high?"  "Validated" standards will not necessarily be high standards, designed to prepare men for combat realities that have not changed.

Congress should demand transparency on the results of physical-test research already done, and exercise responsible oversight to assess those results and write into law policies that should be called Sound Policy for Women in the Military.

Is Congress truly concerned about violence against military women?  If so, members should start questioning the judgment of four-star generals who are pushing policies known to increase both physical and emotional harm to women in uniform.  According to a recent news report, the Veterans Administration is gearing up for more injuries among female veterans − especially if they are expected to perform like men in the combat arms:  

Some advocates of women in combat have claimed that subjecting women to direct ground combat assignments would somehow reduce incidents of sexual assault.  On the contrary, a Defense Department Study on Women's Health − finished in July but not reported in Navy Times until October 2013 − found that:  

  • Female veterans who were exposed to close combat violence in war zones, not including actual fighting in the combat arms, reported sexual assaults at rates twice as high as other military women (4% vs. 2.1%) 
  • The same study found that life-threatening combat settings would make it harder to avoid sexual assaults. In addition, men serving with women exposed to combat situations likely would be less concerned about sexual assaults and less likely to be held accountable for their actions.

B.  Religious Freedom in the Military


The Department of Defense recently released an Instruction(Number 1300.17) to implement a defense bill "conscience clause" to protect religious liberty in the military. The Pentagon's announcement of the new directive did not mention the genesis of the new law that the Instruction implements: a need for religious liberty protections that became increasingly apparent after repeal of the policy called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2010: 

Early headlines focused on speculation that the new rules might encourage inappropriate dress and grooming in the military. This is not likely to happen because the Instruction stipulates that religious accommodations, which will be the responsibility of local commanders, will be allowed only on what is called a "Neat and Conservative," case-by-case basis. If the Instruction is implemented properly, it will not complicate military missions or harm unit cohesion. No one can guarantee the future, and caution with vigilance are in order still, but the new law is a step in the right direction.

Additional News, Commentaries, and Articles of Interest:


Women in Combat 

Religious Liberty in the Military


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The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues. Additional information on these topics and more are posted on the website,  

For more information or to arrange an interview with CMR President Elaine Donnelly, call 734/464-9430 or write to


Posted on Jan 31, 2014 Print this Article