In an all-male Marine study recently released by the Marine Corps, the study showed that all male units outperformed mixed gender units. The month-long study during a recent infantry integration test showed that the all-male units outperformed the mixed-gender units in just about every capacity. The women included in the study performed their tasks more slowly, fired weapons with less accuracy, and sustained far more injuries during training than their male counterparts.
According to the Marine Corps Times, these troubling findings come at a time when the Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph Dunford must make a decision regarding integrating female troops into combat units. Full integration of female troops in combat is set to take place January 1, 2016, and he must decide whether or not to request exceptions to the new rules in order to ensure combat readiness.
As reported in the Christian Science Monitor, the all-male Marine study, known as Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force (GCEITF), included 200 males and 75 females, and it could be used to ask for exceptions to the women in combat rule. The Marine Corps concluded that warfare has changed little over the centuries, and the physical demands remain.
“…the brutal and extremely physical nature of direct ground combat, often marked by close, interpersonal violence. It further argues that the nature of battle ‘remains largely unchanged throughout centuries of warfare, despite technological advancements.'”
Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, who served as both a Marine infantryman and Director of Operations on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff before he retired, echoed the sentiments of the Marine Corps conclusions.
“…the burden of 30 to 80 pounds of personal equipment, mind-bending physical exertion, energy-sapping adrenaline highs, or the fact that the threadbare clothes you wore were unchanged for over three weeks and may have been ‘scented’ by everything from food, to blood, dysentery, and whatever was in the dirt that constituted your bed. And don’t forget insects of legendary proportion and number.”
The study has sparked criticism among women Marines and others who say the study was poorly done. They believe that the study was biased towards the belief that men are biologically and psychologically built to be better fighters.
I agree. As a woman veteran and former U.S. Army soldier, I believe that there are distinct biological and psychological differences between men and women. It doesn’t make one superior to the other. It simply means we are different. We are physically and psychologically different and made for different purposes.
There is a place for women in the military because the military always needs to have the best-qualified personnel who can do the job. Gender should not be considered when choosing the best person for the job. When gender is a factor, as in this all-male Marine study, gender does need to be considered. The primary objective of the U.S. military is to win wars, and with that goal, the military needs to send its best people where they are needed to get the job done.
Women have served America since the beginning, and they have done so honorably. As demonstrated in the book Ashley’s War, women are sometimes needed to perform duties that men cannot, and the Rangers successfully integrated the Cultural Support Teams that allowed women to perform duties while working with the Rangers that the Rangers were unable to perform because of the cultural differences in Afghanistan. Although this initiative saw success, the facts always need to be considered when establishing military policy. First Lieutenant Ashley White lost her life while serving with the Rangers.
As a woman veteran, I know that we have far more serious problems, especially since allowing women to serve in combat units really won’t contribute anything to equality for women. Women serve at all levels of the military and have plenty of opportunity for promotion. They are not being held back because of their sex.
Where women are struggling, particularly as veterans, is in issues like health care and military sexual trauma. The government has failed to successfully address either of these issues, and because of it, women veterans are more likely to have longer waiting times at VA facilities. Only one in four VA facilities is equipped to help women veterans even though we are one of the fastest growing groups of veterans.
Decisions about where to best put our troops need to be made by our generals, not by politicians who never served and have an agenda. If they really want to address the issues facing women in the military and women veterans, then use this all-male Marine study as a basis for formulating military policy, instead of basing our military on political correctness. It hurts the readiness and morale of our troops and makes us weak. Worse, it puts our troops at risk, and they don’t deserve to die because some politician in Washington wants to make a point. To best serve the military and meet the needs of our troops at the same time, choose the best person for the job and forget the social engineering.
What do you think of the all-male Marine study? Do you believe the results should have a heavier weight in making military decisions?
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