Congress and the Next President Should Review Results of Research on Women in Combat
On February 2, 2016, the Senate Armed Services Committee held the first hearing on women in combat since 1991, 25 years ago. Appearing at the recent hearing were Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy, Gen. Mark Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Gen. Robert Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain invited the Center for Military Readiness to submit a Statement for the Record for the hearing. The full 37-page statement, which is supported by extensive footnotes and links to cited sources, is posted here:
An eight-page summary is posted here:
The CMR statement highlighted what has been learned during extensive research on the subject of women in combat since 2012. Comprehensive Marine Corps research results clearly show that the case for women in direct ground combat still has not been made. In fact, tests have produced highly credible, reality-based, empirical data that discredits theories about gender equality in the combat arms.
The Executive Branch has acted unilaterally in overruling the Marine Corps’ well-justified request for exceptions to the administration’s across-the-board mandates.
CMR’s statement challenged the Senate to exercise its constitutional responsibility – and duty – to make policy for the armed forces. Diligent congressional oversight should begin with a public review and objective analysis of the Marines’ request for exceptions that the Commandant submitted to the Secretary of Defense in the Fall of 2015.
The rationale and facts supporting that request always will remain true, even if the administration chose to ignore them.
CMR also challenged the Senate to objectively compare empirical information that the Marines produced to substandard reports from Defense Department contractors such as RAND Corporation. RAND and like-minded consultants have recommended unrealistic “mitigation strategies” that are largely based on unsupported assumptions and misplaced priorities.
The CMR Statement for the Record analyzes 21 of the most typical proposals to “mitigate” problems that it would be better to avoid in the first place.
The administration already is trying to stifle further discussion by military men and women – the people most directly affected. This increases the importance of CMR's independent reporting and analysis. CMR will continue to independently report and analyze attempts to make this unprecedented social experiment “work.” As always, CMR’s focus will continue to be military readiness, not social agendas or political correctness.
As the CMR Statement concludes:
“The Executive Branch’s unilateral plans to order military women into the combat arms rely upon best-case scenarios and unsupported assumptions that are not the basis for sound policy. This remains a social experiment with known and unknown high risks to individual lives, missions, and national security.
“Current military leaders must follow orders, but the next president will have the power to change existing directives in the same way that the current president imposed them. The next Commander-in-Chief must take the initiative, starting with orders to all appointees and military officials to provide complete and candid information on what has been done to our military during eight years of social experimentation since 2009.”
Leaders of the next Congress and administration should be prepared to restore sound priorities, putting the needs of the military first. As Marine Force Innovations Office Director Brig. General George Smith stated in his August 2015 Memorandum to the Commandant:
“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.”
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