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Posted on Feb 14, 2020 Print this Article

Issue 60: February 2020

This edition of CMR E-Notes highlights several issues that did not go away during the impeachment ordeal.  There are several developments of concern:

  • House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) has announced his top priority: legislation allowing transgender recruits to join the military.
  • The U.S. Army, and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are having difficulties trying to implement “gender-neutral” physical fitness standards.
  • “Toxic masculinity” courses are being forced on West Point cadets, and Special Operations Forces leaders are questioning the community’s cultural values.
  • Plaintiffs suing President Trump to stop his transgender policy are continuing their two-year legal campaign to impose intrusive subpoenas on CMR, non-party in the litigation.

President Trump could get these problems under control by issuing new orders restoring sound priorities, and by replacing Defense Department Obama holdovers having responsibility for military/social issues.  CMR will continue to report and analyze why Social Justice Warriors should not be running our military.

A.  The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 (NDAA)

In 2018 the Trump Administration established and implemented the Trump/Mattis policy regarding military persons who identify as transgender, but advocates of Obama-era policies are redoubling their efforts to repeal that policy.  In an interview with Military Times, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said that the issue was listed among his top unresolved issues when the National Defense Authorization (NDAA) for FY 2020 was written last year.

Chairman Smith pledged to restore and codify Obama-era policies regarding transgenders in the military in the coming year.

In 2019, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) tried to nullify the Trump/Mattis transgender policy with legislation that was even more radical than Obama-era transgender policies.

  • If enacted in law, the House-passed Speier Amendment would have forced the military to recruit or retain persons who identify as transgender or suffer from gender dysphoria, a serious psychological condition that affects personal readiness to deploy.
  • Passage also would have: Forced military doctors and nurses to provide medical treatments that many consider unethical; Allowed biological men to have access to private facilities reserved for women; Violated rights of religious liberty; Required mandatory training programs enforcing “preferred” gender pronouns that are inconsistent with biological sex; Ended separate-gender military athletic teams; Relaxed personal conduct rules to allow unusual sexual expression after hours; Increased long-term medical costs; Escalated rates of suicide, and Negatively affected recruiting and retention in the All-Volunteer Force.

The House incorporated the Speier language in its version of the NDAA, but House/Senate conferees dropped it, avoiding a possible presidential veto of the defense bill.  Chairman Smith’s recent comments, however, indicate that this issue will be a priority in 2020, right through the post-election lame duck session in December.

Organizations and individuals who support the Trump/Mattis policy should contact members of Congress and the U.S. Senate, available on Congress.gov.

In addition, organizations that endorse candidates for federal office also should question and confirm the views of all candidates on the Trump/Mattis transgender policy.

B.  “Gender-Neutral” Army Fitness Standards Clash With Physical Realities

President Obama’s 2015 orders to assign women to combat arms units such as the infantry are forcing people who denied reality before to deal with the consequences of taking “equality” to extremes.

Controversies surrounding attempts to implement unrealistic “gender-neutral” standards are raising major concerns.  Some observers have wondered whether the new gender-neutral Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), often described as a “fiasco,” is worsening inequality by setting up women to fail.

According to unofficial pass/fail records of 3,206 soldiers in 11 battalions, 84% of female trainees and 30% of male trainees failed the six-event ACFT, which is scheduled to be fully implemented in October.  Results such as this indicate that the wheels may be coming off the Army’s social engineering caissons:

 Instead of re-evaluating assumptions about women being the physical equals of men in the combat arms, many policy makers do not want to admit that their social experiment is failing.

Author Emma Moore, a Research Associate for the Center for American Security (CSIS), criticizes the Army Combat Fitness Test for raising barriers against recruiting and harming readiness.

In a recent Military Times article titled “The ACFT and Problems with the Military’s Cult of Physical Fitness,”  Moore suggests that challenging physical fitness tests that are the same for men and women are inconsistent with percentage-based “gender diversity metrics,” another name for “quotas.”

“Physical fitness,” Moore writes, “is an outdated measure of readiness for the majority of Army jobs, yet the Army has doubled down on emphasizing just that . . . Because the Army is still organized around valuing and promoting physically fit soldiers, the implementation of the ACFT risks losing diversity of expertise in favor of uniformity of exercise.”  (emphasis added)

In other words, “diversity,” which some high-level military officials consider to be a “strategic imperative,” is more important than the fielding of soldiers who are physically fit.

Writings such as this confirm what CMR predicted in January 2013, when the Obama Administration began the process of treating women like men in the combat arms:

At a Pentagon news conference, then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey gave voice to what CMR dubbed the “Dempsey Rule.”  Said General Dempsey, "[If] a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn't make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain...why is it that high?  Does it really have to be that high?"

According to Ms. Moore, the answer is “No.”  In her view, “There is huge dissonance between who the Army is trying to attract [meaning gender diversity as a priority] and retain and the implementation of the ACFT . . . Instituting a combat-focused test force-wide does not make sense for the modern era.”

Moore concedes that ACFT test averages “show a huge disparity in scoring outcomes between male and female soldiers.”  She also recognizes that disparities remain even with extra training to prepare for tough ACFT challenges such as “leg tucks” that trainees must perform while hanging under an exercise bar.

Still, Moore blames women’s difficulties on the Army Combat Fitness Test and the combat readiness philosophy behind it.  “Army leadership lacks gender diversity, in large part due to internal promotion preference for combat arms jobs, which female soldiers were previously barred from obtaining.”

Perhaps, she writes, “readiness itself should be assessed and adjusted in accordance with long-term strategic goals and changing warfare.”  In the New Gender Order, it seems, the Dempsey Rule rules.

Matt Clark, an Army Special Forces officer and instructor at the U.S. Military Academy’s Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic, expressed different opinions in an article published by the Modern War Institute titled “The Army Has a Physical Fitness Problem, Part 1 – Eight Myths That Weaken Combat Readiness”

Among other things, Clark criticized the “Fit Enough Myth” – described as “[T]he belief that a soldier who can meet the minimum requirements on a fitness test is ‘fit enough.’  Fit enough for what?  Accepting mediocrity is not a strategy adopted by any winning team . . . We prepare to fight enemies that are committed, smart, and adaptive.  If we want to win, we must do everything possible to maximize our performance.  We are never ‘good enough.’  Winners pursue excellence.” (emphasis added)

The 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces endorsed recommendations addressing this issue with common sense that should be reconsidered today.  Gender-normed standards that recognize physical disparities between men and women are acceptable in basic, entry-level, and pre-commissioning training, but not in training for the combat arms.

Now that minimally qualified women are eligible for involuntary assignment to the combat arms, gender-specific training programs and scoring systems are untenable.  To solve the problem, Pentagon officials should restore sound policies that actually support women and military readiness as the top priority, instead of promoting gender quotas and “diversity metrics.”

C.  Israeli Defense Forces Admit Problems with Women in Combat

Leaders of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are having similar difficulties trying to implement “gender-neutral” physical fitness standards.  The IDF has promoted the concept of women in combat units for years, but most have been assigned to Karakal (sometimes called Caracal) units, which are described as infantry but are primarily responsible for patrolling relatively safe borders.

According to the IDF’s Bamahane magazine and Arutz Sheva, an Israeli news service, between the years 2012-2013 a large-scale study was conducted among female soldiers in the Karakal unit.  The study found that a full 46% of the female soldiers suffered injuries during their initial period of training, compared to 25% among the men.  During training and mainly in field and warfare weeks, one-third of the women were injured more than once, suffering torn ligaments, knee and back pain, and stress fractures.

Lower bone density, higher fat percentages, and muscle density averaging 33% less than the men contributed to higher rates of injury – 70% in the Artillery Corps.  Disproportionate injuries result in drop-out rates 2 to 5 times higher than men.

Nevertheless in 2015, the IDF pressed ahead with changes in training exercises and diet to “fit” them to women.  It has come to light, however, that female soldiers assigned to tanks require twice as much time to load shells.

In a court filing challenging a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court, which demands that the judge order the Defense Minister and Chief of Staff to recruit more women for armor units, the IDF rested its defense on inconvenient facts.

During 2017, the IDF document states, the Chief Armor Officer was presented with pilot test results revealing “certain discrepancies between male and female tank fighters performing identical operational missions.  Thus it has been found that the average response times and completion of shell loading, launching, first-fire, and rapid-firing by female fighters were significantly longer than the average time of male armored fighters (two or three times in relation to these operations.)” (emphasis added)

The IDF concluded: “Of course, these gaps are of great significance in operational activities.”

According to Arutz Sheva, “The Torat HaLichima organization responded: “It is very unfortunate that former Chief of Staff [Gadi] Eizenkot lied when he defined the pilot [tests] in the media as ‘successful.”  This document justifies our demand of Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to disclose all the findings of the pilot to the general public.”

Members of Congress also should demand that the American armed forces provide candid, accurate information about the results of our own military’s experiment with minimally qualified women who are now eligible for combat arms units such as the infantry.  Physical requirements are greater in fighting teams that seek out and attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action.

Disparities in physical strength, endurance, injuries, and deployability are matters of readiness that should be disclosed and recognized in policy, not covered up with claims of “success” in achieving gender diversity metrics.

D.  Woke West Point Curriculum Attacks “Toxic Masculinity”

According to a Breitbart report, the U.S. Military Academy recently conducted its third annual “Honorably Living Day,” which featured feminist documentary films targeting “hyper-masculinity” and other male maladies that lead to rejection of women.

The reported curriculum for mandatory sessions required cadet attendees to bring a 3x5 card identifying three things that make them feel included and valued or excluded and not valued.  Discussions of gender socialization followed, plus role-playing, videos, and left-wing documentary films titled The Mask You Live In and Miss Represention, which features partisan figures such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Jane Fonda, Rachel Maddow, Rosie O’Donnell, and Gloria Steinem.

Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, Superintendent of West Point, described the curriculum as conducive to improving combat readiness.  One of the cadets, however, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “I’m being taught how not to be a man.”

Another cadet added, “I’m going to quit West Point.  It’s no longer teaching me to be a leader of men.  It’s teaching me how to be a victim.”

Meanwhile, at U. S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) located near Tampa, FL, SOCOM Commander Army Gen. Richard Clarke released a “culture and ethics” letter along with the results of a study into why elite war fighters sometimes get into public trouble ranging from drinking excesses to war crimes.

According to Military Times, the 69-page SOCOM report released in January includes several examples of Special Operators behaving badly.  In 2019, for example, a platoon of Navy SEALs were sent home early after a raucous 4th of July team party in Iraq that involved drinking while deployed and an allegation of rape.

The SOCOM report found that an obsession with tactical skill and deployments over everything else has eroded leadership across the command.  What was described as an “insidious sense of entitlement” has fostered the rash of misconduct scandals that have occurred in recent years.

“Sometimes character is not held in as high regard as competence,” General Clarke told reporters in January.  “[T]he two have to be linked.”  This would seem to be obvious, but there are complicating factors in a community that is trained to accomplish extraordinarily difficult missions.

In a recent note to CMR, a senior retired Army officer who maintains ties with the Special Operations Forces (SOF) community noted that since special operators come from the regular field Army, which decreased in size while SOF increased, something wasn’t going to work.  “You can’t decrease the size of the army by 40% and correspondingly increase the size of SOF by 40% without some decrease in quality.”  He added, “There are some guidelines called the SOF Truths.  One of them is “SOF cannot be mass produced.”

The 1992 Presidential Commission heard testimony from experts on military cohesion, which is often confused with social activities and “male bonding.”  Social bonds are part of cohesion, but the true definition provided to the Commission stressed survival.  As stated in the Commission’s report:

“Cohesion develops in a unit or group where members share common values and experiences . . .Unit members become totally dependent on each other for the completion of their mission or survival, and group members must meet all standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group survival.” (Commission Finding 2.5.1)

In a cautionary note that is still relevant today, the Commission report added,

“Cohesion can be negatively affected by the introduction of any element that detracts from the need for such key ingredients as mutual confidence, commonality of experience, and equitable treatment.” (CF 2.5.4)

The SOCOM report notes what is called “hero worship of salty veterans” who are often deployed and not available to mentor junior officers in matters of character seems to be part of the problem.  “[T]hose who…deploy forward, specifically in some degree of combat, are held as an almost infallible standard bearer for the rest of the organization to emulate – seemingly regardless whether it is a positive or negative standard,” the report found.

Taking it a step further, the report contends that “there can be such an obsession with running the fastest or doing the most pull-ups that professional development, and an acculturation to military core values – tenets like honor, respect, humility, and so forth – can fall by the wayside.”

Cultural change programs at both West Point and Special Operations Command should be cautious about efforts to improve discipline by targeting masculinity, which some feminists criticize as “masculinism.”

The Washington Examiner reported the SOCOM letter in an article titled, ‘They Want Us to Be Choirboys’: Special Operations Troops Mock Order to Behave.”  This concern brings to mind the feminist philosophy of former Law Professor Madeline Morris, who was a consultant to the U.S. Army during the Bill Clinton Administration.

In a 1996 Duke University Law Journal article titled By Force of Arms: Rape, War, and Military Culture, Prof. Morris suggested that “the masculinist military construct relates specifically to the particular vision of masculinity as dominance, aggressiveness, and toughness embraced in military culture.”  (p. 751)

Suggesting that military training itself might be linked with sexual aggression, Morris proposed an “ungendered vision” for the military to downplay “masculinist” tendencies.

In contrast, the retired Army officer who wrote to CMR expressed misgivings about the phrase “toxic masculinity” and similar disparaging phrases. “We must be very careful when challenging the aggression of our forces, especially Special Ops,” he wrote.   “Lives depend on each other.  Some do dumb and stupid things together that make them stronger as a group.  But there must be good judgment and discipline.”

Military discipline does not come naturally; it must be taught and reinforced at every stage in a military person’s career.  Disciplinary issues must be addressed with sound leadership, not misguided efforts to disparage masculinity and cultural values that contribute to victory in combat.

E.  Litigation and Legal Harassment:

A small army of aggressive, well-funded lawyers are continuing their campaign to nullify the Trump/Mattis policy by asking federal judges to reject the professional military judgment of experienced combat leaders concerning medical qualifications for military service.  In essence, they want the judges to rely on the opinions of transgender activists to determine the standards necessary to field a military capable of closing with and destroying those who seek to harm America.

As CMR explained in this article, lawsuits against President Trump were filed months before the Trump/Mattis policy was even adopted and they continue to this day.  While there have been some successes along the way for the government in defending the cases, the litigation is not over by a long shot.

In four separate cases, lawsuit plaintiffs have accused Trump of harboring "animus " against transgenders or people who suffer from gender dysphoria.  Because of these attitudes, they say, federal courts should declare the Trump/Mattis policy to be unconstitutional.

In attempts to prove their mind-reading “animus” theory, plaintiffs served intrusive subpoenas on the Center for Military Readiness and several other non-party groups, including the Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council.  The sweeping non-party subpoena served on CMR demanded access to emails discussing transgender policies between CMR and the Trump for President Campaign, the Transition Team, and officials in the White House or Department of Defense.  The initial timeframe specified in the subpoena was from June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump descended on the escalator to announce his campaign, to “the present.”

With the help of pro-bono legal representation by Law Professor Emeritus William A. Woodruff and the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, non-party CMR informed plaintiffs that it would not produce any communications without a court order, and outlined its legal objections to the subpoena related to the Seattle-based Karnoski v. Trump case.

In January 2019 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court lifted preliminary injunctions imposed by lower court judges and allowed implementation of the Trump/Mattis policy, pending the outcome of the underlying litigation.  These rulings suggest that the policy has a good chance of being upheld as constitutional when it arrives before the Supreme Court, but there are no guarantees.

In response to these rulings, a judge handling another case in Washington, D.C. lifted the subpoena burdens on other non-party organizations, for the time being.  The Seattle district court, however, has not handled the Karnoski v. Trump case in the same way.

Subpoenas demanding email communications about the transgender issue, to or from CMR and certain government officials and private individuals, were not suspended.  CMR has been resisting court mandates related to lawsuits filed against President Trump for almost two years.  Despite appeals for reconsideration, modifications, and contradictory court rulings, we are bound by the court’s order.

Compliance is in progress and we will provide further updates as events move forward.  We appreciate the continued support of those who are standing with us to ensure that military readiness, not unrealistic social policies, serve as the basis for qualifications for military service.

Center for Military Readiness  |  P. O. Box 51600  |  Livonia, MI 48151  |  734-464-9430




Posted on Feb 14, 2020 Print this Article