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Charles Paige / April 23, 2015

Social Engineers and Marine IOC Standards

Should standards be lowered because females haven’t passed?

The Marine Corps’ recently concluded two-plus-year experiment at its Infantry Officers Course (IOC) demonstrated (yet again) that there are significant physiological differences between males and females that make males better candidates to serve in leadership roles in ground combat units. We know it’s politically incorrect to say so, but there it is.

Twenty-seven female volunteers for the program fell far short of the goal of 100; four made it past the first day, and none — zip, zero, nada — made it even a third of the way through the 86-day course. This was not a surprise to anyone who has served in or with Marine infantry units, but apparently it was a revelation to many on the Left. Yet it hasn’t stopped their quest to “fix” what isn’t broken.

As many predicted, the bold talk about equal opportunity — how scores of capable women would be serving in the infantry if only they were provided the same opportunities as males — quickly shifted to one of equal outcomes — how the standards are somehow unfair and should be lowered until an “adequate” number of females can pass the course. Never mind that a significant chunk of males don’t make it through the course and that the existing standards have undoubtedly contributed to the Marine Corps’ well-documented prowess on the battlefield. To leftists, the Marine Corps has a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell female infantry officers.

Advocates of the lower standards use their favorite nanny state “I know what’s best for you” argument. Despite most of them not having combat experience themselves, they assert they know better than the Marine Corps what’s really required to lead Marines on the modern battlefield. But a note: Leading implies a higher standard than simply being a Marine — even a Marine infantryman — though both are noteworthy accomplishments.

These social engineers argue the requirement to fight and win battles in “any clime and place” is out of date and should be dumped in favor of a lowest-common-denominator approach. The reason? Because a handful of females performed admirably in the challenging-but-limited combat environments in Afghanistan and Iraq. But isn’t it ironic that many of the same crowd who love to bash George W. Bush for his “failures” in Iraq and Afghanistan now want to use those wars as the benchmark for how we should train for future conflicts?

None of this is to belittle women or denigrate their admirable service in all branches of the military. But it is to say that standards are meant to serve both the Marines and the country, and a Corps-wide policy that’s been validated through decades of combat should not be modified based on the performance of a few outliers in one theater of war. As Marine Brigadier General George Smith stated, “The realities of combat aren’t going to change based on gender.”

Over time, technology and physiology may evolve to the point that females can meet the same standards as their male counterparts. Until then, however, we don’t recommend placing this military branch and potentially the nation at great risk in a misguided attempt to make a very small percentage of a certain demographic feel better about themselves.

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