The Obama Administration expects the Marine Corps to find a way to assign women to ground combat units without lowering standards. In the independent view of CMR, quantitative research done so far indicates that these expectations cannot be met. Androgenic characteristics in men, which are not going to change, account for greater muscle power and aerobic (endurance) capabilities that are essential for survival and mission accomplishment in direct ground combat.
- Physical strength disparities are most relevant in tests of upper-body strength and endurance. Significant percentages of female volunteers were unable to perform several proxy tests simulating upper body strength requirements of direct ground combat units.
- Proxy tests under controlled conditions are not definitive, but they clearly indicate that ordering women to lift or march with heavy burdens under wartime conditions would set them up for disproportionate injuries, and put all personnel and missions at greater risk.
- Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey has suggested that standards too high for women should be questioned, and the administration endorses recommendations for “gender diversity metrics.” Implementation of these goals would, over time, erode high standards in the combat arms.
- General Dempsey also has called for a “critical mass” of women in ground combat units, and administration proposals for achieving “gender diversity metrics” (read, quotas) could result in the replacement of personnel meeting high standards with others performing at minimum, “lower but equal” levels.
Some of the organizations involved in the design of Marine Corps Force Integration Plan projects and subsequent studies, such as RAND, are not independent, objective, or likely to challenge the administration’s monolithic group-think on military/social issues.
- The theoretical 3% of women who might meet minimum male standards could move from rising career opportunities to lower status in ground combat units. In that physically-demanding environment, they would be at a disadvantage and subject to disproportionate stress and risks of debilitating injury.
- Reliance on “gender-neutral standards” likely would be overruled by political forces, budget cutters, recruiters, and Pentagon advisory groups that promote a liberal agenda. The predictable formula is simple: Incrementalism + Consistency = Radical Change.