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What Do Women Want? The Pentagon Doesn’t Care

August 22, 2016
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What Do Female Olympians Know that the Pentagon Doesn’t?

For years, feminists have insisted that military women couldn’t wait to be treated like men in “tip of the spear” direct ground combat units.  Now that their social experiment is underway, Pentagon officials are having trouble finding women who want to participate.

The Army’s top enlisted man, Sgt. Maj. Dan Dailey, recently found it necessary to beg female non-commissioned officers to “step up” and transfer into combat arms units such as the infantry. [1] Shortages of female NCOs should not have been a surprise.  Smart women won’t put their careers and health at disproportionate risk just to prove bogus theories about “gender equality.”

There is a difference between the experience of being “in harms’ way,” where women have served with courage, and physically-demanding direct ground combat units that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.  In that environment, combat packs weighing 100 pounds are not equal when women’s physical strength and endurance are not equal.

In an official survey, 92.5% of Army women said they wanted nothing to do with the infantry. [2] Last year three women made it through Ranger school after multiple attempts, but more aspirants haven’t shown up since.  Another female Marine officer recently became the 30th candidate who failed on the tough Infantry Officer Course, and no more have signed up to try. [3]

Meanwhile, six of seven female enlisted Marine recruits failed to qualify with sufficient strength, stamina, and running speed for direct ground combat assignments.  Their 86% failure rate on revised “gender-neutral” basic training tests, compared to 3% of men who failed, did not meet expectations that hundreds of women soon would qualify for the combat arms. [4]

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus nevertheless announced that one-in-four Marine recruits should be women – a 25% gender quota that he simultaneously denies.   Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told Associated Press that he plans to induct 10% women by focusing on physically-strong high school girls who participate in sports such as wrestling. [5]

The aggressive effort will involve specialized advertising, targeted direct mail, and personal visits with coaches ˗ tactics that have been tried before.  In 2008 the Marines launched a similar campaign aimed at athletic women, advertising in popular magazines such as Shape and Fitness.  A thousand “qualified leads” returned response cards, but only two of those turned into enlistments – one of them already interested because of her Navy brother. [6]

Recruiting is a tough job.  Youth surveys in the Spring of 2015 showed that 14% of young men might consider joining the Marine Corps, compared to only 4% of women. [7]

Recruiters have to contact twice as many female prospects in order to find one recruit, and costs for each one are even higher because they are more likely to drop out before “shipping” to basic training.  Boot camp attrition rates consistently have been twice as high as men’s, and new “gender-neutral” physical fitness standards will widen the gap even more. [8]

Feminists Don't Speak for Women

Last year, civilian Pentagon consultants insisted that new “career opportunities” would attract and retain more women in the military. [9] Credible data, however, discredited those claims.

In 2012, the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) conducted a major survey asking thousands of Marines how prospective rule changes making women eligible for the combat arms would affect their own decision to join or stay in the Corps. [10]  Five percent of female Marine respondents said they would not have joined the Corps under such rules.

When asked about orders to serve in the combat arms on an involuntary basis, negative responses jumped to 23%, almost one in four.  Twenty-two percent of male Marines expressed the same opinion. [11]

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter should have paid attention to these survey results, and to the best professional advice of then-Marine Commandant General Joseph Dunford.  In the Fall of 2015 General Dunford requested exceptions to mandates ordering women into the infantry and other combat arms, and supported his position with highly-credible research findings. [12]

In scientifically-monitored combat field tests, all-male units outperformed gender-mixed ones 69% of the time, and women experienced two- to six-times more injuries.  Brig. Gen. George W. Smith, Jr., who directed the Marines’ three-year, multi-phased research projects, warned that ignoring these realities would degrade survivability and lethality” – paramount factors needed to win in deliberate offensive action against the enemy. [13]

Secretary Carter ignored these concerns, announcing in December 2015 that minimally-qualified women would become eligible for direct ground combat assignments.  Carter also stated clearly that women would have to accept such assignments on the same involuntary basis as men. [14]

Military recruiters seem to know they have a problem.  CMR has learned that annual youth surveys of “propensity to serve” in the military have not even asked high school girls about involuntary “opportunities” to be ordered into the infantry.

The situation does not excuse comments that mislead young women about what they would face once they sign up.  Recruiting Commander Kennedy told AP reporter Lolita Baldor that he is working to “debunk misconceptions” about military sexual harassment and the difficulty of having a family life.  Maj. Gen. Kennedy also wants to “allay fears that women would be forced into combat jobs they don’t want.” [15]

This sales pitch stretches ethical bounds to the breaking point.  Problems with sexual harassment and worse continue to escalate, family life in an expeditionary force is more difficult for women (especially mothers) than for men, and involuntary assignments to the combat arms are not a “misconception.”

As the Secretary of Defense confirmed, following orders is not a matter of choice.  This is how the Army will fill shortages of female NCOs to supervise enlisted women in previously all-male combat arms units.

Lessons from the Olympics

On a recent network morning show, one recruiting officer enthusiastically praised women’s abilities to perform physical fitness tests as well as the men.  “Look at the Olympics,” he said.  What do teenage female athletes know that this recruiting officer doesn’t?

At the Rio Summer Games our female Olympians dazzled the world with their speed, skill, and grace.  But if new rules required that women run, swim, or wrestle against men, many would be injured and few would win medals.  Only male gymnasts perform on the pommel horse and suspend themselves in “T” shapes between rings, thanks to testosterone-powered muscles that even the strongest women don’t have. [16]

Aspiring Olympians have more common sense than military officials who ignore such realities at great risk to lives and military missions.  Before young women are forced into the infantry, perhaps the Olympics should abolish gender-specific competitions and watch what happens.

Civilian consultants like RAND Corporation insist that over time, “gender-neutral standards,” and “leadership” will erode and eventually erase all concerns and resistance.  But during the Marines’ Ground Combat Element Integration Task Force (GCEITF) research, the opposite proved to be true.

Over nine months of field tests, perceptions of combat effectiveness among male and female participants steeply declined from very high to low.[17]  This CNA survey and the one mentioned above were among many research reports – more than half ˗˗ which were omitted from the list of research documents posted on a Defense Department website. [18] Truth remains true, even if the administration choses to hide or ignore it.

Young women considering military life have a right to know that they would be up against if they sign up to serve their country under politically-correct policies implementing gender equality myths.  If Olympic officials do not force accomplished female athletes to compete against men, grown men in the Pentagon should not be sending trusting young women to go fight ISIS.



[1] Michelle Tan, Military Times, SMA: Army Needs More Female Soldiers to Step Up for Combat Jobs, Aug. 15, 2016.

[2] Lolita C. Baldor, AP and USA Today, Few Women Want Combat Jobs, Survey Says, Feb. 24, 2014.

[3] Lolita C. Baldor, AP/Marine Corps Times: Female Marine Can’t Complete Infantry Officer Course – No More Women Now Enrolled, Aug. 12, 2016.

[4] Lolita C. Baldor, AP/Military.com, New Marine Corps Fitness Standards for Combat Weed Out Men, Women Alike, Jun 21, 2016.

[5] Lolita C. Baldor, AP/CNS News, FN #1, supra, Marines Turn to Girls High School Sports Teach for Recruits, Aug. 13, 2016.

[6] Douglas Quenqua, New York Times, Sending in the Marines (to Recruit Women), Apr. 21, 2008.

[7] Data provided by Joint Advertising Marketing & Research Studies (JAMRS), 2013 and 2015.

[8] Briefing for the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), USMC Response to Request for Information (RFI A4), Dec. 4, 2014, and Footnote #3, supra.

[9] RAND Corporation, Implications of Integrating Women into the Marine Corps Infantry, Dec. 2015, p. xiv.  This document includes many examples of overly-optimistic estimates, contingent on self-interested recommendations for the hiring of a small army of “gender advisors,” training programs addressing “unconscious bias,” and admittedly-expensive “gender integration oversight boards” to encourage and monitor “hyper-masculine” cultural change over a period of decades. (pp. xx – xxii and 22)  These self-interested arrangements put RAND and other civilian consultants in line for lucrative contracts to write future reports praising their own “success,” but always asking for more contracts when predicted problems ensue.

[10] Center for Naval Analysis, Assessing the Implications of Possible Changes to Women in Service Restrictions – A Quick-Look Analysis of   Summary Results, DRM-2012-U-002586-Final, Nov. 2012.  This CNA document, obtained by CMR with a Freedom of Information (FOIA), was not included on the Defense Department list of USMC Research results.  It is available at: https://cmrlink.org/data/CNAMarine-CorpsWICsurvey-results.pdf

[11] Ibid., pp. 34-37.

[12] Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, In Historic Decision, Secretary of Defense Opens All Jobs in Combat Units to Women, Dec. 3, 2015.  The text of Gen. Dunford’s request for exceptions that he was entitled to file with the Secretary of Defense and the synthesized data backing it up should be a matter of public record.  To date, those documents have not been disclosed.

[13] Brig. Gen. George Smith, Jr., Director, Marine Corps Force Innovation Office, Memorandum for the Commandant, p. 7.  More information is available in a Statement for the Record, Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 2, 2016, Submitted by Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness.

[14] Department of Defense News Transcript, Dec. 3, 2015.

[15] Baldor, AP, footnote #2, supra.

[16] Ivy Morris, Livestrong.com, Sports & Fitness, What is the Difference Between Men’s Gymnastics and Women’s Gymnastics? Nov. 7, 2015.

[17] Center for Naval Analysis, Assessment of Change in Marines’ Perspectives during the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, Volume 1, Data Analysis, Aug. 2013, pp. 19-20.

[18] U.S. Department of Defense, Women in Service Studies, posted at http://www.defense.gov/News/Publications/WISR-Studies.  In the course of filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, CMR learned that more than half of recent research reports produced between 2012 and 2015 – documents that the public has a right to see -- were not posted on the Defense Department’s list.


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