An organization that promotes high standards and sound priorities in the military is blasting “lame-duck” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for opening combat positions to women.
Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness said the move compromises the aim of having the most trained, most skilled and best-performing military.
“Career pressures to make this ‘work’ will vitiate core values, because the military’s honorable tradition of recognizing individual merit will have to yield to pressures for ‘diversity metrics,’” she said.
Donnelly warned that Marine and Army field commanders “who desire promotion will be compelled to pursue gender-based quotas by ordering women into direct ground combat (infantry) battalions.”
The Pentagon, under Barack Obama’s direction, this week said virtually every ground-combat job now will be opened to women.
The decision came even though the military itself concedes men have physical advantages over women that are relevant to carrying out basic tasks. The average women, the military acknowledges, for example, has lower upper-body strength than the average man, and women are hospitalized at a rate 30 percent higher than men.
Even the left-leaning Time acknowledged accommodations for women are forthcoming.
“Integrating women into the combat arms – primarily infantry, armor and artillery – is going to be a balancing act,” the magazine said. “Standards must be met, but there will be pressure to ensure enough women qualify so there’s not only one or two in a 150-troop company.
“Before long, commanders will have to implement various types of double standards involving women, known as DSIW. And to avoid soaring injury rates in tough training, challenges for men will be dropped and forgotten, weakening the finest fighting force in the world.”
Donnelly charged that the “lame-duck” Panetta “recklessly announced unilateral nullification of direct ground combat exemptions that are important to the majority of military women who serve in the enlisted ranks.”
She noted Panetta decided to exclude Congress and the American people from the decision “and imposed a radical ‘diversity’ agenda on our military without disclosing the data and results of extensive research on the subject of women in land combat that the Marine Corps conducted last year.”
Congress now should insist on seeing the results of the Marine research, Donnelly urged, and “conduct immediate oversight hearings before the harmful policies imposed by the outgoing secretary of defense become de facto law.”
“We are hearing assurances that training standards will remain the same, but no matter what is promised now, incremental pressures to assign women to Marine and Army infantry and Special Operations Forces battalions will drive qualification standards down. The same advocates who demand ‘career opportunities’ in combat are the first to demand unequal, gender-normed standards to make it ‘fair,’” Donnelly said.
She said Congress has the constitutional responsibility to make policy for the U.S. military.
“If data gathered … showed that gender ‘diversity’ would strengthen infantry battalions, surely we would have heard that news by now,” she said.
“Despite current denials, training standards will have to be lowered to achieve the desired ‘critical mass.’ And as we have seen many times before, officials will deny gender-normed standards or disguise them with sophistries pretending that ‘equal effort’ is the same as ‘equal results,’” she said.
“Gender-norming will not work in infantry battalions, but it will increase resentment and harm team cohesion and morale. These negative dynamics surely will increase problems of sexual misconduct, across both sides of the spectrum ranging from sexual abuse to inappropriate relationships. ”
The Miami Herald recently posted a list of nations in which women serve in combat, including Israel, where the five major infantry brigades still are all-male.
Other nations where women are in the combat ranks include Canada, France, New Zealand and several Nordic countries.
Earlier this week, Donnelly’s organization released a new report on a U.S. Marines plan to put women in “tip of the spear” combat positions.
It argued females are not “equal” when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. The report warns America’s social experiment with the members of its military may become costly.
“Mandatory ‘diversity’ taken to extremes is all about elitist attitudes, ideological groupthink, and Amazon Warrior myths that disregard inconvenient facts,” the report says. “Ancient Greeks and Romans believed in mythical Amazon women, but today’s theorists seem to believe in popular culture depicting super-female warriors on television and in feature films.”
The report warns that as “1984″ author George Orwell “recognized decades ago, false beliefs are likely to ‘bump up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.’”
Donnelly pointed out in a Washington Times commentary about her group’s new report that female officers were invited last September to participate in the grueling 13-week Marine Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, Va.
“Of the two women who volunteered, one left on the first day, and the second dropped out (along with 27 of 109 men) several days later,” she writes.
“Professional football entertains fans with non-lethal combat on the gridiron, but the National Football League does not ‘diversify’ its teams with female players,” she argues. “Military teams that engage in lethal combat, however, are supposed to deploy significant numbers of women, willing or not, to achieve gender-based ‘diversity metrics’ on the battlefield.”
The report cites 30 years of studies in the U.S. and allied countries showing that “in a direct ground combat environment, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive or to help fellow soldiers survive,” Donnelly says.
“There is no question that female Marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors have served our country with courage and dedication in the wars since the 9/11 attacks on American and before. Some are still deployed,” says the report.
“The current debate is not about women serving ‘in harm’s way’ in war zones. It is whether women should be assigned to direct ground combat – ‘tip of the spear’ battalions that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action under fire.”
“Lives and the success of land combat missions depend on individual movements in battle zones, marches under heavy loads, the digging of fighting positions, lifting and mountain machine guns, lugging cans of ammunition rounds, and throwing grenades,” the report says.
“The only way to achieve ‘equality’ for women in tough training is to use gender-normed (adjusted) scoring systems that measure ‘equal effort,’ not equal results.”