Charles Paige / August 18, 2016

The Future of Women in Marines IOC

No women have passed, so should we watch for falling standards?

To pretty much no one’s surprise, female Marines went 0-29 over the course of a nearly three year experiment to evaluate female participation in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course, a prerequisite to serving as a Marine infantry officer. Although most of the attention will be focused on the first number — the goose egg — the second number also prompts some questions. The Marine Corps’ stated goal at the beginning of the process was for 100 female volunteers to attempt the course. Despite significantly broadening the eligible pool of applicants midway through the experiment, less than one-third of the desired number chose to participate.

The majority of the females failed to successfully navigate the Endurance Course, a screening event conducted during the first week of the program that also claims a fair number of male aspirants. The final female candidate was one of the first to pass the Endurance Course, but was eventually dropped for failing to complete two conditioning hikes. Both events and associated standards are based on situations Marine infantry officers have encountered and can expect to encounter on the world’s most unforgiving testing ground — the battlefield — and both highlight the significant physiological (i.e., “proven science”) differences between men and women.

Having done their best to run an objective assessment, most observers expect the Marine Corps to be told that its standards are too high and that gender equity is much more important to national security than victory in combat or even preserving lives. Just kidding. Gender equity proponents will use Newspeak that suggests the standards won’t be lowered at all, just “adjusted” to more accurately reflect increased capabilities legions of females will bring to the infantry … but if our inherently unjust patriarchal society gets taken down a notch or two, that’s OK too.

As retired Marine General John Kelly observed, “If we don’t change standards, it will be very, very difficult to have … any real numbers [of women] come into the infantry.” That will be particularly true if females aren’t interested in serving as infantry officers, which is one of the obvious takeaways from the experiment. While the timing is uncertain, it’s not hard to predict the eventual outcome (especially if Hillary Clinton is in the Oval Office come January): bureaucrats who have no concept of what it takes to fight, survive and win on the battlefield — and most of whom have no interest in serving themselves — will impose more “reasonable” standards on the Marine Corps. The real question will be whether these bureaucrats really support a woman’s right to choose, or if they will also force the Marine Corps to involuntarily assign women to a role many may not find particularly appealing.

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