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The Obama administration created a crisis by insisting women be ordered into ground combat firefights, but now it’s time for Congress to step up and solve the problem, says the president of the Center for Military Readiness, a nonpartisan group promoting high standards for military policy.
One key problem, documented now in multiple tests and studies, is that women generally cannot meet the physical demands placed on the military’s tip-of-the-spear units that attack an enemy.
Recently, it was revealed that under half of the women in those training programs could perform at the gender-adjusted minimum standard set for women.
According to the Associated Press, the Marine Corps decided to delay enforcement of a physical requirement for women that was supposed to take effect with the start of 2014 because only 45 percent of the women could do the minimum three pullups.
CMR president Elaine Donnelly told WND there’s little time to find a solution, since the military branches are supposed to be putting women in all roles – including front-line combat positions – starting in 2016.
The Marine Corps’ decision to delay implementation of its physical minimum, according to spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs, will allow training officers to “gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed.”
She said female Marines were called on to do a minimum of three pullups during their annual physical review. Eight would be a perfect score, compared to 20 for a perfect score for a man.
But of the female Marines tested at Parris Island, S.C., not even half succeeded, she said.
Donnelly says the Marines’ decision to suspend the requirement was the right one, but maintains the issue is much larger a physical standard for boot camp.
“If it is too much to require female recruits to do three pullups, it is a thousand times worse to expect women to serve in direct ground combat units such as the infantry, armor, artillery and Special Operations Forces. These are the small ‘tip of the spear’ teams that seek out and destroy the enemy with deliberate offensive action,” she said.
“As long as Pentagon officials keep pretending that women can take the places of men in the infantry, female trainees will suffer more injuries and resentment they don’t deserve, and men will be less prepared for close combat missions that have not changed. What we need is a logical policy that reflects reality, not feminist theories of gender equality,” she said.
Donnelly previously served on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services and was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces. Her articles on military personnel issues have been published by the Washington Post, USA Today, the Boston Globe and others.
The fact that the majority of women were unable to meet the gender-adjusted minimums should be a wake-up call for the American military, Donnelly told WND.
Physical strength is “very much a factor” in ground firefights, in which Marines and soldiers are physically confronting the enemy.
It is not the fault of the women, she noted, but rather, the system that politicians are using to carry out their social experiment of putting women in combat positions.
But the end game should not be a quota, a percentage of women in the military or any other social yardstick. It should be winning life-and-death battles in a war that could determine the course of the nation, she said.
Donnelly told WND women have done exemplary work in the U.S. military, under fire, in danger and with heroism.
But the simple physiological differences, she said, mean women should not be in the front-line combat teams, and she is urging Congress to fix that fault.
“The Obama administration’s incremental policies toward co-ed infantry combat make sensible gender-specific training practices untenable. There can be no gender-norming in fighting teams that seek out and attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action,” she said.
“The only way that the Marines can solve their dilemma is for Congress to codify women’s exemption from direct ground combat, with the stipulation that the policy not be changed without an affirmative vote of Congress. That way, both men and women would receive the best training possible, without the consequences and dangers of pretending that they are interchangeable in all roles,” she continued.
Donnelly said female recruits in the current training camps are no less capable than “any class of recruits.”
But, she said, the results have been skewed by Obama’s insistence on women in front-line combat roles.
Starting in January 2016, “women are supposed to be fully capable of direct ground combat, and it will not be voluntary,” Donnelly said, ominously.
She called it “folly” to believe that there would be no impact from the difference in strength levels between male and female service members.
“Nowhere in history is there evidence women can take the place of men in combat,” she told WND.
The AP reported “the delay on the standard could be another wrinkle in the plan to begin allowing women to serve in jobs previously closed to them such as infantry, armor and artillery units.”
WND reported only months ago that the White House’s women-in-combat campaign would ultimately force women into those positions.
Donnelly noted that the House Armed Services Committee did not even consider legislation to preserve young women’s exemption from Selective Service registration and a possible future draft.
The White House target for women in the military has included the Army and Marine infantry, armor, artillery, Special Operations Forces and Navy SEALs.
“These are small fighting teams that locate, close with, and attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action and a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile force’s personnel. … Wrapped in this camouflage-disguised package is a legal time-bomb that gives new meaning to the phrase ‘war on women.’ Unless Congress intervenes, a future court will impose Selective Service obligations on unsuspecting civilian women, on the same basis as men,” warns a CMR report.
Bottom line, says the military-advocacy organization, is that forcing women into front-line battle could well mean nothing short of mission failure.