Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Thursday said he is opening all positions in the U.S. military to women, despite a lengthy Marine study that found the “fastest, most fit, most physical, most lethal” fighter is “a man.”
The Washington Post reported that Carter announced the end to a three-year period of research on the question of whether women should be assigned the most lethal, most dangerous jobs in the military.
Most military positions have been open to women for years, but the Obama administration, along with its campaign to end bans on openly declared homosexuals transgendered persons in the military, has been pushing hard to allow women in front-line combat.
Carter said his decision overruled Marine concerns and will open the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations units to women who qualify. It also means that, while the U.S. military now is volunteer, once members, including women, are in, they can be assigned to such units whether they want the assignment or not.
“There will be no exceptions,” Carter said. “This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.”
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, former Marine chief and current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had recommended keeping some units male-only.
He was absent during Carter’s announcement, and Carter said he would fall into line.
The Post reported the issue has divided the U.S. military, which is supposed to be one cohesive fighting force.
It reported Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who advocates for allowing women into all positions, blasted Marine concerns over studies that proved the average woman struggles to keep up with men in a number of ordinary military functions.
Fox News reported the military has only until Jan. 1 to submit plans to implement Obama’s wishes.
The level of concern was highlighted by a WND report two days ago.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, called on Congress to step into the dispute over women in combat before “irreparable damage” is done to America’s all-volunteer military. The group’s latest report said the Marines have documented evidence that women are different from men.
Donnelly’s report included a statement from the Facebook page of a highly decorated Marine combat veteran and non-commissioned officer who participated in the 2015 Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force.
“This was as stacked a unit could get with the best Marines to give it a 100 percent success rate if we possibly could. End result? … [The data showed women] are slower on all accounts in almost every technical and tactical aspect and physically weaker in every aspect across the range of military operations.”
The Marine’s statement continued, “Make no mistake. In this realm, you want your fastest, most fit, most physical and most lethal person you can possibly put on the battlefield to overwhelm the enemy’s ability to counter what you are throwing at them and in every test case, that person has turned out to be a man.
“There is nothing gender biased about this; it is what it is.”
CMR said that for nine months in 2015, the USMC Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force “conducted scientifically monitored field exercises that simulated wartime requirements for direct ground combat units. Unlike gender-integrated support units that serve ‘in harm’s way’ in war zones, these are small fighting teams that seek out and attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.”
The study found that all-male teams outperformed mixed-gender units 69 percent of the time and women had significantly higher rates of injuries and early fatigue.
Worse, in many cases of dual-gendered teams, “Numerous cases of compensation were observed during physically demanding tasks, in which males shifted positions to take over certain aspects of tasks from females,” the report said.
“Due to unchangeable physical disadvantages among women that clearly affect survivability and lethality in battle, officials should discontinue plans to order women into combat arms units such as the Marine and Army infantry, armor, artillery, and Special Operations Forces, including Rangers and Navy SEALs,” Donnelly recommended.
A memorandum from Brig. Gen. George S. Smith Jr., the head of the Marine Corps Force Innovation Office, included statements that are cause for concern.
“The assessment across all occupational specialties revealed that gender-integrated teams, squads, or crews demonstrated, with very few exceptions, degraded performance in the time to complete tasks, move under load, and achieve timely effects on target as compared to all-male teams, squads, or crews.”
He also concluded there will be risks “I do not believe can be fully mitigated.”
“The associated risk is directly linked to the physiological differences between males and females. Simply, size matters when executing a dismounted movement under load,” the report said.
Statistically, more than 40 percent of the women had musculoskeletal injures during the assessment, compared to 19 percent for men.
“Those who choose to turn a blind eye to … immutable realities do so at the expense of our Corps’ warfighting capability and, in turn, the security of our nation,” Smith wrote.
CMR analyzed both the information regarding the “survivability and lethality” of women in combat, as well as “flawed attempts to downplay the impact.”
“Comprehensive Marine Corps research tests have produced highly credible, reality-based, scientific data that discredits theories about gender equality in the combat arms. Much of this information was not available when the Obama administration announced that women would be assigned to direct ground combat units,” Donnelly said in a prepared report.
“The armed forces should not be forced to rely upon unsupported theories, convoluted calculations or ‘best case scenarios’ that disregard known high risks. It is necessary to analyze mitigation ideas that would make life in the combat arms more difficult and more dangerous, with no offsetting benefits in terms of military effectiveness.”
The CMR, founded in 1993, is an independent, nonpartisan, educational organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.
Some of Donnelly’s expertise comes from her service as a member of the congressionally established 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, which studied all aspects of the women in combat issue for a full year.