Marines Trolling Girls’ Sports Teams for Combat Jobs Should Take a Lesson from the Olympics

As published at August 17, 2016.

Girls-Basketball-High-School-Military-Marines-900Maybe the Marine high command should take a break from their busy work of social re-engineering and enjoy the final week of the Olympics. They might learn something about men and women the rest of us take for granted.

The first thing that they would notice is that the world continues, as it always has, to not watch men competing against women. Are the Olympics just another relic of patriarchy, or do we know something arch-leftists don’t? What we know is that if women competed against men in the toughest sporting competition on the globe they would never medal and likely would be phased out completely.

This was underscored when a young boy “identifying” as a girl was allowed to compete against real girls on an Alaskan high school track event and won. (So much for girl power). Yet, as AP reports, the Marine command wants to troll high school sports teams for female athletes to fill Marine jobs, including combat positions. Here the stakes are not medals and reputation but life, limb and our country’s national security.

Recruiters forced to meet Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ quota of 25% female representation and General Robert Neller’s new dictate of 10 percent for the Marines would see many young women’s star athleticism cut short by recruiters who will be pressed to entice these young women with misleading talk about the equality of the sexes.

Equality in dignity and worth: check. Equality in human rights: check. Equality double timing it for miles under an enormous field pack over rough terrain, or carrying a 200-pound wounded Marine and his gear and weapon off a battlefield, or going hand-to-hand with an ISIS soldier who wants to kill, disable, or make you a star in their next YouTube video? Not so much.

Quotas are King

But as long as the diversity numbers are “right” who cares if the military actually functions to purpose? AP reports Neller telling his recruiters, “Go find them. They’re out there.” Except that they’re not, really. Young women who know what’s good and not good for their bodies want nothing to do with the infantry. Most women don’t want to join the military at all let alone it’s toughest branch.

Some 37% of female Marine recruits don’t even make it to boot camp graduation where they’re training to become basically qualified, not infantry. We’re 0 for 31 on female officers trying to complete the Infantry Officer’s Course, and they can’t find anyone else who wants to try.

Military women already average two to ten times men’s injuries in support units where the physical requirements are much less. The military is hard on the body — much more so for women. Are recruiters informing young women of this fact? Hardly.

If it worked, why aren’t women competing with men in wrestling, football, the UFC or any other full contact sport? Because doing so doesn’t help us thrive, much less win.

What does it say about this administration and compliant generals like Neller that they want women to compete in the most lethal activity known to mankind despite unchanging disproportionate liability?

You Can’t Debunk the Truth

General Paul Kennedy, head of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told the AP that “he is working to debunk misconceptions about women in the Marine Corps, including worries about sexual harassment and sexual assault, limits on career options, lack of stability and difficulties having a family life.” But you can’t debunk the truth. Although sexual assault numbers are often inflated because in addition to actual assault they include unwanted touching or overhearing a dirty joke, sexual assault is absolutely something women need to be aware of when entering the military’s toughest, most male-dominated branch.

Military life, especially in combat units, is not stable. It’s a constantly changing environment with new demands always on the horizon and obligation to follow orders including frequent moves and deployments. Women can enjoy life-long military careers — not being in the infantry doesn’t stop one from joining the highest ranks — but it’s extremely difficult and most women don’t want to do it — primarily because their bodies usually don’t hold out that long unless they’re riding a desk the whole time.

Finally, calling the “difficulties of family life” a myth is appalling. It’s precisely the lack of permanency and the extreme pressures and demands in the military that tear so many families apart. Combat and family life are in perpetual conflict with far deeper ramifications if you’re a mother. Many women leave the military at far higher rates than men precisely because they recognize this unchanging reality as they start families or seek to begin one. But hey, forget about the children. Women’s military careers and breaking the “brass ceiling” are paramount, no matter the costs.

The simple truth is that military leaders like General Kennedy are painting a fantasy that the military and combat aren’t what they are.

The Tip of the Spear

Diversity hawks look at the Marines with its 7% females and say the other branches are more receptive. There’s another factor — the other branches are easier. With the exception of the Special Forces and Army infantry, they’re not the tip of the spear like the Marines are.

The AP story reports, “The 10 percent goal would require [Kennedy] to bring in about 3,400 women recruits a year; he believes that is well within reach.” But getting recruits in the door and having them stay in are two different matters.

Women are many times more expensive to recruit because, compared to men, more of them don’t finish boot camp or make it past six months of service, more of them are non-deployable, leave the service early and far fewer re-enlist. It makes the women who do stay & succeed all the more impressive. Even so, they’re very rare, not due to sexism, but the demands of the job. Last year 400 women volunteered to go through the Marines’ enlisted infantry training. Just shy of 36% of those made it to completion (vs. 98% of males). Of the 64% who didn’t, some were medically discharged due to injuries incurred in training. They’re not serving at all anymore and never got a chance to even complete one year let alone four, 12 or a 24-year career. Of the near 36% who did make it through, many will suffer the same fate as they try to prove the feminist lie that women are interchangeable with infantrymen.

“The key, Kennedy said, is to get to influencers — parents, coaches — and convince them that their daughters, their athletes, will be treated fairly,” according to the AP story. “And he said he allays fears that women would be forced into combat jobs they don’t want.” Is it fair that they are two to ten times more likely to be injured than their brothers? Now that women’s combat exemption has been repealed, those star athletes are prime fodder to help the Obama administration reach its “diversity metrics.”

Obama and the milquetoast flag officers imposing his social agenda don’t care about the military or winning against our enemies, and they certainly don’t care about women. All they care about is getting the numbers. In their complicity they’re trying to recruit young women do jobs they don’t want that will hurt them more than men and won’t help our military objectives. That this is a major priority is the primary reason for our military decline. Good for our enemies; not so good for us.

Drafting Women Needs Public Debate

An abreviated version of this post was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Star News, Wilmington, NC, June 23, 2016.

imageedit_2_4135407630With no public debate the Senate passed the FY17 NDAA which includes forcing women to register for Selective Service. This is problematic for many of the same reasons as putting women in combat units. It’s not a rights issue. We enjoy equal rights under law. That doesn’t mean we’re the same in physical abilities. Even top-performing military women are not interchangeable with infantrymen, and replacing infantrymen is what the draft is for. It’s not for desk jobs to “free a man to fight.” Few women qualify for the military, near none for combat standards that would have to be lowered to induct them. Military women already average 2-10 times men’s injuries. To cull through millions of registrants to find the 1 or 2 who could meet infantry demands but would still have at least double the injury risk would be a huge waste for little ROI. Women are also higher-value targets to our vicious enemies for propaganda and much worse. We serve with courage and excellence, have always volunteered in wartime and will again, but we have risks in war that men don’t. While the combat exemption was a barrier against women’s draft, its repeal does not mean there is nothing else to consider. Given the administrative burden, cost and readiness degradation, Congress is amply justified in opposing it. The draft and women’s inclusion should be publicly debated not slipped in behind closed doors and voted on with no scrutiny.

Sorry Miss USA But Direct Combat is Not a Beauty Pageant Stage

As published at The Stream, June 7, 2016.

Miss-USA-D.C.-900We can all be proud and happy that a member of our military became Miss USA 2016. But that doesn’t mean we have to agree with her.  Deshauna Barber is a first lieutenant in the Army Reserves and is getting a flurry of attention for her comment during the Miss USA pageant about women in combat roles. Her statements demonstrated little forethought on the issue, but, hey, why let the reality of direct ground combat against the likes of ISIS ruin a good “I am woman, hear me roar” moment? And hey, getting on the women-in-combat feminist bandwagon may have clinched her the Miss USA crown.

When asked about her thoughts on women in combat roles, the IT analyst from North Washington D.C. said, “As a commander of my unit, I am powerful. I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States Army.” And “I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate to every branch of the military … We are just as tough as men.”

I confess that I don’t know what being an IT analyst in the weekend-warrior Army Reserves is like. I do know about IT in the Marines, and both being a Marine and supporting communications for deployed Marines is much harder, but it still ain’t direct ground combat. I’ve no doubt that Lt. Barber is powerful and dedicated, and a valuable — not to mention beautiful — addition to our Armed Forces. But she hasn’t trained and competed with male infantry. Her job in the Army reserves does not include orders to serve with men in the combat arms, and she knows nothing about it.

We have ample empirical data on the question of women in combat roles from recent testing, not to mention hundreds of years of experience learning what helps and what hinders victory in battle.

Barber will never bear the consequences of what she so mindlessly advocates. She’d be the one they shoot first as an easy target. And so beautiful, in her bikini and dangly earrings, or her be-makeuped soft-focus selfie in uniform. Not distracting at all. ISIS is not just laughing at us. They’re licking their chops at our self-imposed weakness. But we have our Charlie’s Angel delivering the Obama party line. She’s won the beauty pageant; just wait ‘til she starts her acting career.

Firebrand Gunnery Sergeant (Ret) Jessie Jane Duff, who served two decades in the Marines and advocates strongly that we should not diminish our combat readiness, had some choice tweets for the young LT:


In a recent interview Duff added this:

This was an ideal opportunity for her to stand up and stand for the enlisted women who will die in mass quantity in combat … She’s missing the entire data … Yes, we’re as mentally tough as men, but all data demonstrates that the women are performing at the bottom 25th percentile with men in infantry units. We’re setting them up for failure. Her speech, what she said was perfect if she had just closed with, “We should not lift a blanket policy without evaluating this closer because this isn’t about equality … this is about combat readiness and the mission is first.” That would have gotten just as much applause and people would have celebrated her for defending the women that have to go out there and perform with these men … Hand to hand combat? There is no equality in it. The men will decimate women in hand-to-hand combat.

This week we commemorate the 72nd anniversary of D-Day. Our reflections on young men storming the beaches of Normandy should remind us of the importance of defining precisely what is involved in “direct ground combat.” It’s great that Barber feels powerful, but the truth is that physically she’s a twig, and ISIS, or Iran or North Korea would make mince-meat out of her in five seconds.

She may be as tough as other keyboard commando Army Reservists, but she has no credibility on killing our enemies at point-blank range. She is no authority in comparison to three years and over 50 documents’ worth of scientific testing data submitted by the Marine Corps to the Pentagon, which showed that integrated units underperform on 69% of tasks and women get injured more than twice as much as men. Dedication has little relevance against these realities, which would severely degrade the lethality and survivability of our most elite fighting units.

In our upside-down “now,” where the Left is trying to hammer at us that one’s biological sex is meaningless, Nature simply will not comply, especially in the most violent activity known to mankind. As we’re fighting the most barbaric enemy we’ve ever faced, we need the manliest, most powerful, aggressive, testosterone-laden American alpha males that our taxpayer dollars can buy in order to destroy our enemies and come home quickly and in one piece. Miss USA is a beautiful stick who’d have no chance killing ISIS fighters in hand-to-hand combat.

Deshauna Barber makes a great poster, and now we all know what she looks like underneath her uniform. It’s Combat Barbie Miss USA. But direct ground combat is not a beauty pageant stage. Barber is the media’s latest darling for being a satisfactorily diverse and pretty package delivering the government-approved party line. Meanwhile technology has not alleviated the need for brute strength and speed that women simply don’t provide, and they bring with them serious additional risks that men simply don’t.

Meanwhile, too, the Senate is voting on whether to subject America’s young daughters to mandatory registration for the draft as combat replacements. The girl next door will not have stunt doubles to fill in for the bloody parts, and for her it won’t be about “a few women who want to.”

Advocates for Women in Combat Value Diversity over Victory

As published at Crisis Magazine, June 7, 2016.

Female SoldiersThe prospect of drafting women is exposing some of the second-order consequences of fully integrating the combat arms. Constitutionally speaking, women’s combat exemption was the primary circumstance standing between America’s young women and registration for Selective Service. Now that women’s exemption has been repealed and the House and Senate are weighing amendments that include forcing women to register as part of the FY17 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), the nation-wide debate is revealing a lot of confusion on the draft and its purpose. Some have used the opportunity to call for an end to the draft altogether, others say women are not full and equal citizens unless they, too, have to register to fight the nation’s wars. The large majority of Americans have no connection to the military and had no skin in the game when considering full integration of U.S. combat units. They vaguely supported the idea because they support women generally and think it’s what women want. The idea of their daughters actually being drafted for combat against the likes of ISIS, Syria, Iran or North Korea is the catalyst for more realistic consideration on what’s at stake. Although women can be assigned to combat units, there are a myriad of excellent reasons that they should still be excluded from the draft.

Selective Service registration exists in order to induct “combat replacements” in a large-scale national emergency. It is not to fill desk jobs and support roles, it is to replace infantrymen who are dying by the thousands at the sharp end of our military spear. Technology has not lessened the face-to-face bludgeoning that our infantrymen are doing when the gun jams or ammo runs out as they’re fighting house to house and cave to cave on foot. While both women in combat and now drafting women have been framed as issues of equality, the priority when making military policy is the needs of our combat readiness and effectiveness, not equal opportunity or equal rights. That which diminishes readiness and effectiveness has no business being considered let alone implemented. Adding women to the draft is militarily unnecessary, would impose a bureaucratic nightmare in a crisis with little to no return on investment, and would imperil our ability to achieve victory with the fewest casualties. It is problematic for the same reasons as integrating our elite combat units, the infantry, armor, artillery, and Special Forces.

We know this because scientific testing has shown it for decades. The Marine Corps’ 9-month integration study was only the latest in such testing. Top-performing female Marines ranging in ranks from PFC to Sergeant who achieved men’s minimum physical fitness standards or better and also completed the enlisted infantry training were paired with average male Marines of the same ranks. The hypothesis to prove was that coed teams would perform the same or better than all-male teams, but the results were the opposite, the hypothesis disproved. Out of 134 tasks, all-male units outperformed coed units 69 percent of the time. It’s not that women couldn’t do some of the tasks at all, but where they could, they couldn’t perform as fast, struggled with heavy-lifting tasks like casualty evacuation, fatigued faster and suffered greater rates of injury. All of their weaknesses were amplified when they were fatigued like after a long march under load (typically around 80lbs), and the heavier the weapon, the less accurate the shooting. If the margin was even 5 or 10 percent, that would be abundant validation against integrating the units in which speed is a weapon and any weakness means sacrificing victory and personnel. But 69 percent disparity is a catastrophic blow to survivability and lethality in direct ground combat. The Obama administration ignored these facts. Supporters of women in combat have no interest in victory or troop welfare. What matters to them is forcing the socio-political agenda of diversity metrics on an entity that has no choice but to follow orders.

Unchanging physical differences between the sexes will always render women at a stark disadvantage in offensive kill missions. In the Marines’ testing, women suffered 2-6 times the injuries of their male counterparts. Active-duty women average 2-10 times the injuries compared to men before even attempting to achieve men’s standards or the combat arms’ much more grueling demands. It should go without saying that higher rates of injury are a liability to units that have to endure and withstand the toughest physical demands as they hunt and kill our enemies. Drafting women for this will result in much higher turnover, weakened combat effectiveness and fewer of both men and women coming home alive and victorious against our enemies.

The military is tough on anyone but it’s much tougher on women because we don’t have testosterone coursing through our bodies. We have to exert far more effort into the same training to meet the arduous physical demands. That makes us all the more impressive for serving in the first place, but it doesn’t make us interchangeable with infantrymen or render all risks equal in the most violent activity known to man. Just the opposite. There are few to no women who can not only achieve combat unit standards but maintain them over time. We break hundreds to find two who can make it past day one in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course (IOC) or through Army Ranger’s School. You can bet your life that women have to be a damn sight better than men’s minimums to survive, let alone succeed, in the direct ground combat they’ll be drafted to engage in. Of the thirty female Marine officers that were deemed eligible to try IOC, none were able to pass or even able to make it past the first two weeks. The females who graduated Ranger School were given additional training and recycled at least twice through each phase where men are only allowed two recycles—at most—over the whole program. The third graduate got three recycles in at least one phase of Ranger School. Their graduation was planned in advance and the Army shredded their records less than a month after. Those records are usually kept for one to two years at the least, but the Army saw fit to destroy them for these individuals. Their graduation was presented as proof that women are just as capable as men of succeeding at combat. The reality was quite different, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

It would be an administrative nightmare to sift through thousands and thousands of female registrants to test and find the one or two who can do the typical combat tasks required of the infantry. Regardless of standards, women face additional and higher risks than men which also make ground combat and drafting thereto a very unequal prospect. We face the most savage, barbaric enemy imaginable. They are raping their way across the Middle East and now Europe, using their creativity to devise new forms of torture and murder. Women are higher-value targets to be raped and tortured, used for psychological warfare against their units and as propaganda to devastate the country. For these reasons Congress would be amply justified in deciding that the little to no return on investment and the much greater risk and damage would not be worth the added administrative burden, and great expense in time, effort, personnel and defense dollars.

Where adding women palpably degrades combat effectiveness and adds significantly more risk and liability, there is no decent reason to draft women. The draft, like integrating combat units, is about the needs of the military, not equal career opportunity. We always need men to fight, we don’t need women to. Women now being able to join combat units when they volunteer for military service does not render all other considerations moot. As Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readinesspoints out, “The Rostker decision did not consider other rationales for continuing women’s exemption from direct ground combat and Selective Service. A case could be made for limiting Selective Service to men, if Congress supported that policy with facts that already exist.”

The “Draft Our Daughters” amendment was struck from the House language of the FY17 NDAA in May, but behind closed doors Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who also chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee added the language on the Senate side. It will be voted on later this week.

Just as there should be open deliberation on combat unit integration, there should be a full and open debate on Selective Service and whether or not women should be included. These responsibilities rest with congress because they are accountable to us, not unelected appointees like Ashton Carter and Ray Mabus pushing Obama’s agenda through regardless of consequence. We are cannibalizing museum pieces to fix our aircraft, suffering many more training accidents due to budget cuts, the military is being bombarded with politically correct garbage, and our generals are telling Congress our military is not prepared to fight the next war, especially on multiple fronts. The last thing we need to do is add more bureaucracy to our beleaguered force.

Drafting Women Into Combat Doesn’t Enhance Equality. It Courts Disaster.

As published at May 21, 2016.

Startled-taken-aback-Women-900This week the House Rules Committee neutralized the “Draft Our Daughters” amendment put forward by Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and passed by both Republicans and Democrats in last month’s markup of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The language requiring women to register for Selective Service (SS) was removed and new language added calling for examination of both Selective Service and the impact of forcing women to sign up. On the Senate side, the measure forcing women to register was slipped in last week by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. For the sake of America’s young women and for the sake of our military, this misguided push to add women to the draft must be stopped.

Understand, the purpose of the draft should it be reinstated is to induct combat replacements during a large-scale national emergency. It is not to collect warm bodies to work desk jobs to “free a man to fight,” or for support units. It is to replace the men who are dying by the thousands at the very front of the fight. Like the issue of integrating women into our combat units, this is about the needs of the military during wartime, not equal rights between the sexes.

Physical disparities will always render women at a stark disadvantage in offensive kill missions. As it is, active-duty women average 2-10 times the injuries compared to our brothers in arms. This is before we’re talking about women attempting to achieve men’s standards or the much more grueling demands of the infantry. Not equal, and maybe it doesn’t seem fair, but it’s reality and it has a bearing on sound military policy. It might be one thing if all physical capability, injury and risk were the same between the sexes, but they aren’t. Much higher rates of injury are a liability to the units that have to be the strongest, fastest and most ferocious. Drafting women for this would mean much higher turnover, diminished combat effectiveness and fewer of both men and women coming home alive and victorious against our enemies.

Photo c/o

Photo c/o

There are very few women who want to join the military and little to none who can not only achieve combat unit standards but maintain them over time. We have to break hundreds to find two who can make it past day one in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course or through Army Ranger School, and you can bet your life that women have to be a far sight better than men’s minimums to survive, let alone succeed, in direct ground combat.

It would be a logistical and bureaucratic nightmare to sift through thousands and thousands of female registrants to test and find the one or two who can do the standard twelve-mile fast hike with an 80lb pack, to name a tiny fraction of what’s typically required of men in the combat arms. We are also confronting the most savage and barbaric enemy we’ve ever faced, to whom women are higher-value targets to be raped and tortured, used for psychological warfare against their units and as propaganda to devastate the country. On these grounds Congress is justified in deciding that the little to no return on investment and the much higher risk and damage would not be worth the added administrative burden, and great expense in time, effort, personnel and defense dollars.

What about equality? Women already enjoy equal rights under the law. Wage-gap claims continue to be debunked when hours worked, degree of danger and individual choice are taken into account. Women enjoy majorities on college campuses across the country and can do whatever they want. Even so, the needs of the military have nothing to do with women’s rights, and a large-scale war mobilization is no different. Some insist equal citizenship and responsibility means women sign up, too, but that falsely assumes equal physical ability. By this logic, only those who are able to fight get rights under the law. Where adding women demonstrably degrades combat effectiveness and adds significantly more risk and liability, there is no decent reason to draft women.

The feminist claims that American women are second-class citizens if they’re not allowed into combat or the draft ring hollow when these same feminists are so markedly silent on women suffering genuine subjugation in Islamic countries and communities. If we lose against this enemy, American women won’t have any rights at all.

The Israel Example: It’s Not What You’ve Been Told

Photo by Nicky Kelvin/Flash90.

Photo by Nicky Kelvin/Flash90.

Conscription in Israel is often raised to justify America following suit, but the comparison doesn’t bare up under scrutiny. The Israeli Defense Force doesn’t deploy abroad, it exists to defend itself from the enemies surrounding it. They abandoned having women fight in frontline combat after it proved catastrophic during their 1948 war.

Less than two thousand Israeli women serve in the coed “combat” units, and those are light battalions, the Caracal and the Lions of Jordan, which serve as border patrols with countries with whom Israel has peace accords. They are not engaged in offensive kill missions to seek out, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and close combat. Israel even reversed integration of their armor divisions because, in the words words of an IDF general who’d previously spearheaded integration but changed his mind after seeing the results over ten years, women’s injuries were “dozens of percentage points higher” than those suffered by men.

Israeli women also serve two years compared to three for men and get exemption for marriage, pregnancy and religious orthodoxy. We deploy mothers and even single mothers to the combat zone. With this precedent, shall we draft them too or would exemption be sexist?

If we were surrounded by enemies and needed all hands on deck, there is no doubt American women would rally by every means necessary to defend the country, as indeed we always have. Adopting Israel’s example would mean limiting where women are utilized to the areas where they can be effective and successful without adding unnecessary risk.

Misleading on Military Policy

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

In justifying his maneuver, McCain told The Hill, “I support the recommendation of the Army chief of staff and the commandant of the Marine Corps that women should register for Selective Service. … It is the logical conclusion of the decision to open combat positions to women.” Hunter said something similar when he told the House Armed Services Committee, “If you vote yes on this amendment you’re voting with General Dunford and General Milley.” It needs to be noted that Gen. Dunford never said this. Marine Gen. Robert Neller and Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley did, but these were their personal opinions, not a reflection of military policy.

It’s true that, constitutionally speaking, women’s combat exemption is what stood between women and the draft because, as the Supreme Court decided in Rostker v. Goldberg in 1981, since women weren’t “similarly situated” in combat units, their exemption from the draft did not violate the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause. But women now being able to join combat units when they volunteer for military service does not render all other considerations moot. As Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness points out, “The Rostker decision did not consider other rationales for continuing women’s exemption from direct ground combat and Selective Service. A case could be made for limiting Selective Service to men, if Congress supported that policy with facts that already exist.”

The decision to repeal women’s combat exemption was made administratively and without the required congressional review and oversight. Had it been done properly, the draft question would have been openly debated, not assumed after the fact. Congress makes policy for the military and hasn’t even considered the expert research or debated the consequences of combat integration, let alone approved it.

The Marines included over fifty documents and reports justifying their request to maintain all-male infantry, yet the Pentagon has withheld over half of them. They should be made public and subject to public analysis, hearings and independent expert testimony.

It lies with Congress to make policy regarding Selective Service and the draft. This is not something that should be allowed to happen behind closed doors like McCain did in slipping in the draft language on the SASC side. Just as there should be open deliberation on combat unit integration, there should be a full and open debate on Selective Service and whether or not women should be included. These responsibilities rest with Congress because its members are accountable to us, unlike the unelected Obama appointees like Ashton Carter and Ray Mabus, who push Obama’s agenda through regardless of consequence. America owes it to her daughters, and to our brothers in arms, to demand this debate and this accountability.

Fast-Forwarding Military Decline

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speaks to Marines regarding women in combat during a speech at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus speaks to Marines regarding women in combat during a speech at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

As published at April 20, 2016.

As a Marine veteran and close follower of the developments on women’s integration into the combat arms, I’ve noticed that women saying they want to join the infantry do so for all sorts of reasons: to make history, break barriers, challenge themselves, prove something, carry on family tradition. With the women’s combat exemption now repealed, the media fawns on the first females going for combat roles as history-makers, even before they’ve finished — or even started — boot camp or officer candidate school. Notably missing from the young women’s motivations is anything about killing the enemy, the raison d’être of the combat arms.

Meanwhile, as the military is gearing up to spend millions of precious defense dollars on additional recruiters to enlist females, more sexual assault response staff, sensitivity trainers to indoctrinate on “unconscious bias” and incalculable amounts of money, time and energy to integrate the combat units with the two females who “want” to join and can make it past initial training, the Marines are having to cannibalize museum pieces to keep their aircrafts running. Fox News reports that only 30% of the Marine Corps’ aircraft are mission ready and that young maintenance techs are leaving the service for better paying private sector jobs, with the ones who are left working 21-hour days to get aircraft repaired and running for deployment operations. Military pay has been cut every year for several years, and personnel numbers are being slashed by tens of thousands. Our planes are ancient and our Navy is smaller than it’s been since the First World War.

Simultaneously our top military leaders are telling Congress we’re not ready for the next war. Defense Newsreported in March that:

Top Army and Marine Corps generals warned lawmakers their combat readiness is ebbing and expressed concern they would be unable to fight and win another war in the midst of budget cuts, two wars and heightened global threats.

These same generals have cited budget cuts as having a deadly domino effect: reducing training has led to an increase in aviation fatalities such as the helicopter crashes in January that killed 12 Marines.

During this time of military breakdown, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ biggest concern is touring Marine Corps bases to reinforce party line on women’s integration into the infantry. AP reports:

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus had a simple message for 1,500 Marines and sailors: The decision to let women compete for all military combat positions is as irreversible as earlier edicts to integrate blacks and allow gays and lesbians to openly serve.

Of course, this is incorrect. The repeal of women’s combat exemption is a policy and as such can be reversed just as it was implemented: administratively. Alternately, Congress could actually do its job in creating military policy and reverse the “decision” that was not Ashton Carter’s to make in the first place.

But more importantly, integrating women into combat roles is nothing like racial integration or the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A black or gay man is still a man with testosterone coursing through his body. The abundance of this hormone is what makes his bones stronger and more dense, and makes his aerobic capacity, speed, muscle mass and capacity to gain muscle mass greater than a woman’s. The combat arms require an abundance of these. He also can’t get pregnant and doesn’t require additional accommodations to maintain hygiene.

Truman struck a blow against an irrational prejudice based on skin color by racially integrating the military, and he did so based on military need with no changes to standards as there are with women’s integration.  African-Americans had also served in direct ground combat in all our nation’s wars. Proponents of women in combat would like us to believe the same is true for women, but they are equating deployment to the combat zone in general with engaging in direct ground combat missions in particular — two wildly different things.

There is no military need to put women in our most elite fighting units, and there are mountains of empirical evidence showing that such integration degrades our readiness. Even the most fit military females exhibit weaker physical performance and average two to ten times men’s injuries. That doesn’t even allow us to maintain our current state of readiness, one that is, according to our generals, already alarmingly weak.

Mabus is also repeating the promise that standards won’t be lowered, saying, “Let me repeat that: Standards will not be lowered for any group!” But it rings a bit hollow when in the next breath he said, “Standards may be changed as circumstances in the world change, but they’ll be changed for everybody.” No word on how his demand for 25% female representation can be achieved without lowering standards. It will be masked by removing tests where women don’t succeed or excel.

Calls for such changes have already been made, for example by Col Ellen Haring, one of the women who sued to open the combat units, who calls the Combat Endurance Test, part of the Marines’ Infantry Officer Course, a mere “initiation rite and not a test of occupational qualification.” Stay tuned for calls to remove typical testing maneuvers like climbing the 25’ rope in full kit. The man least qualified for the position he holds, second only perhaps to SecDef Ashton Carter, isn’t fooling anyone.

The Pentagon is fast-forwarding as much social-engineering wreckage as they can in the lame-duck months remaining in Obama’s presidency, from ROTC cadets parading in high heels to programming young warfighters in the art of double-think to ignore the reality of sex differences that are all the more evident when the uniforms are all the same. This is the last thing we should be doing when we’re fighting ISIS and face a more complicated set of foreign challenges than ever.

As George Orwell said in 1946, “We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue … the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

Recipe for Disaster: Assigning Unqualified Women to Combat Leadership

As published at March 21, 2016.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter grabbed headlines last week when he announced that President Obama would soon nominate the first woman to head a major U.S. military Northern combatant command. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

According to the Marine Corps Times, female officers and staff non-commissioned officers (NCOs) will soon be assigned to infantry units in order to “begin building the cadre of women leaders,” to support female enlisted Marines. Males in both ranking and subordinate positions are supposed to accept female leadership that has not completed the Infantry Officer Course (IOC) because they will be serving in support roles:

These female Marines or sailors will help male infantrymen adjust to the changes in their units before female grunts join their battalions, said Col. Anne Weinberg, deputy director of manpower integration.

“We really didn’t look at them as helping the junior female Marines,” she said. “We really looked at helping the unit writ large — as a resource to the commander, as a sounding board …”

The first ingredient in this recipe for disaster is the female Marines’ lack of qualification. That no women have been able to pass the grueling IOC may be ignored by the Pentagon and Marine Corps leadership, but it certainly won’t be by subordinates in the infantry units themselves, nor should it. Where the women did not earn their place like the rest of the grunts, there will be no trust, respect or faith in their leadership. And since these women will not have worked their way up in the field, they will have no idea how these units should be run.

That they are supposed to be in “supporting roles” is meaningless since they will be in charge of the lower enlisted ranks. Placing unqualified female leaders, especially officers, in combat units goes against the very essence of Marine infantry officers whose motto is Ductus Exemplo, leadership by example.

The IOC standards are very high because infantry officers must not only be educated, brave and highly athletic. They also must be better at everything than the members of their units because Marine officers lead their men into battle from the front. The pressure is already on to lower IOC standards so that women can pass them  and thereby the military can meet the “diversity metrics” (quotas) by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and others.

This is what “gender-norming” has always meant: standards that are equal but lower for all, and  tests and events where women’s performance is consistently inferior to men’s are diluted or removed. Thus the disparities between the sexes are masked — until, of course, they resurface in a real battle situation where the need to sprint quickly in heavy gear and carry heavy weapons, overcome an attacker in close quarters combat, or haul a wounded comrade out of battle is no longer a matter of passing some watered down test designed to make Washington politicians happy but a life-and-death matter of uncompromising physics.

The other glaring element that will destroy unit cohesion and lead to mission failure is the splitting of the chain of command:

“The female officers and staff NCOs’ secondary mission will be to serve as a resource for any female infantrymen who join the battalions, Weinberg said. “If they feel like there’s something they can’t talk to their male leader about, just to have that same gender face.”

This will tear out the heart of the combat units, which is their small-team leadership: the fire team leaders, squad leaders and platoon commanders. Under this plan Marines can go cry to the female when they don’t like whatever their male leadership is doing, just like children playing one parent off the other. Such division can only result in hate and discontent in the ranks, obliterating the good order and discipline so essential to their success.

The recipe wouldn’t be complete without the requisite politically correct indoctrination when it comes to assigning individual jobs within the units for which Marines will be trained using “vignettes.”

“Some of the scenarios are: You’re in the field; you only have this certain amount of space for billeting and you’ve got three women and six guys; how are you going to billet?” Weinberg explained.

Putting the “right” number of women in positions regardless of qualification – just like their leadership – will be the order of the day for any Marine whose own promotions and positions will be at risk if they object or balk in any way.

This is a set-up for destruction of the combat units from the inside out. As with the combat integration policy as a whole, there is nothing in place to assess the real fallout. When it fails, those promoting it have already set in place to blame leadership and training. But there’s no leadership or training in the world that can make success out of an unworkable plan that depends on denying the realities of human nature, human biology and combat. The next president, if willing, may be able to turn this around, but there will be a lot of damage in the meantime to both the fabric of the combat arms and the men and women serving therein.


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