Charles Paige / June 23, 2016

The Marines, Women and Standards

The Corps is trying its best despite bad directives.

Despite a thorough study that demonstrated integrating females into combat arms units made the units less effective, the civilian leadership of the Defense Department essentially told the Marine Corps, “We care more about females feelings than we do about combat effectiveness.”

Having been given a handful of lemons in the form of a directive to open all combat arms military occupational specialties (MOS) to women, the Corps spent the last several months making lemonade. In typical fashion, they acknowledged SECDEF’s directive and set out to implement it smartly, if not exactly in the way most of the proponents of the policy probably expected. They reviewed existing physical fitness standards and added new ones that reflect actual tasks combat arms Marines could be required to execute on the battlefield, such as opening a tank hatch and breaching a door with a battering ram. Rather than throwing up their hands and gender-norming (i.e., setting different thresholds for men and women) to appease the PC crowd, they tied them to these easily defendable, real world tasks with the same pass/fail standards for both sexes. Unsurprisingly, so far only a single female has made the cut.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, 40 males also failed to meet the standard and were reassigned to non-combat arms MOSs.

Although it doesn’t address the disruption and degraded effectiveness caused by creating coed combat arms units, the review and new policy raise the fitness bar for all Marines. The positive impact of removing male Marines who aren’t up to the tasks may mitigate at least a portion of the DoD directive’s negative impact. It’s likely the best achievable outcome given the requirements imposed by DoD’s misguided civilian leadership. Let’s just hope the Left doesn’t attempt to undo the Marine Corps due diligence — as they did with the original integration study — and impose equality of outcomes over their rhetorical support for equality of opportunity.

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