Last weekend, I wrote about Secretary of the Navy Mabus rejecting the Marine Corps study that showed that units with women underperform when compared to all-male units.

This week, the Marine Corps is pushing back and opening up a debate about whether or not Mabus can veto Marine Corps decisions.  The Marine Times reports:

The Marine Corps is expected to ask that women not be allowed to compete for several front-line combat jobs, inflaming tensions between Navy and Marine leaders, U.S. officials say.

The tentative decision has ignited a debate over whether Navy Secretary Ray Mabus can veto any Marine Corps proposal to prohibit women from serving in certain infantry and reconnaissance positions. And it puts Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Marine Corps commandant who takes over soon as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at odds with the other three military services, who are expected to open all of their combat jobs to women.

This is of particular interest because while Mabus is a politician, General Dunford is career military and about to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs . . . . with the power, presumably, to approve the waiver that he’s just submitted as Marine Corps commandant.  The Marine Times continues:

The ongoing divide has put Dunford in the spotlight as he prepares to start his new job next week. And it puts him in a somewhat awkward position of eventually having to review and pass judgment — as chairman — on a waiver request that he submitted himself while serving as Marine commandant.

This disagreement between the Marines and the Secretary of the Navy / Obama administration has been escalating all week.  Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has demanded Mabus’ resignation.  The Navy Times reports:

In a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, California Congressman Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps combat veteran, slammed the secretary over his recent criticism of a Marine Corps research project that concluded combat teams containing women were less effective than those composed entirely of men.

“Recent statements by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus — openly criticizing the Marine Corps and its study on the impact of gender integration — have created a deep sense of concern for the ability of the Navy Secretary to be objective and to continue leading the Marine Corps,” Hunter wrote to Carter.

. . . . In his letter to Carter, Hunter called Mabus biased, criticizing the secretary for declaring his decision before being briefed on the Marine Corps’ findings. At a minimum, Hunter said, Mabus should be sidelined from this decision-making process.

“He has openly disrespected the Marine Corps as an institution, and he insulted the competency of Marines by disregarding their professional judgment, their combat experience and their quality of leadership,” Hunter wrote. “Such a significant loss of respect is detrimental to the ability of the Navy Secretary to effectively lead the men and women of the Marine Corps and ensure the service maintains the highest level of combat effectiveness.

This is not the first time that Hunter has challenged civilian decisions that have a potentially negative impact on the military.  Last year, he introduced an amendment to stop the Pentagon’s plan to ban the sale of tobacco on military bases.  Watch: