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Marine Corps Pushes Back Against Decision to Ignore Study about Women in Combat

Marine Corps Pushes Back Against Decision to Ignore Study about Women in Combat

California representative calls for Secretary of the Navy’s resignation

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:


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This is all part of a “re-culturalization” of the entire leadership of the U.S. military, which includes flag-rank officers.

This is how you get a call for 25% of SEALS to be women.

It’s how you get our naval commander in the Pacific stating that Gorebal Climate Thingy is the nation’s greatest threat.

And on, and on…

We have a lot of clean-up to attend to, and it’ll be a very dangerous time, the next few years.

    It’s also how you get a lot of Americans killed one day.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | September 20, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Exactly, this is why over the last few years you have seen this administration basically firing mid- level officers (specifically O-3 to O-5, though there were some O-6 and O-7’s in that as well.) from service, even though they were currently some of the most experienced combat vets we had, in favor of keeping officers with less combat experience that have mostly served in non-combat jobs. The same has been happening in the enlisted ranks as well, just hasn’t been getting the same attention.

    So why would any military thin the pool of experienced officers? Could it be that those ranks are the pool from which the future “high level command” officers will be chosen? Could it be that those ranks are the most likely to contain officers who don’t agree with the current administration’s political views? Could it be to hurt the future effectiveness of our military by thinning out its combat experienced officers?

    I can’t imagine how it must have felt for someone who has worked the 10+ years, especially if those years were combat years to make the rank of Lt. Colonel, just to be “separated” from service with little notice and less reason. You don’t make Lt. Colonel by accident, especially in combat commands, you work you ass off and you take huge amounts of responsibility for the lives under your command.

    Just for reference:

    O-3 = Captain
    O-4 = Major
    O-5 = Lieutenant Colonel
    O-6 = Colonel
    O-7 = Brigadier General (1 Star)

    (Navy ranks have different titles but have equivalent responsibility to the ranks above.)

      You make some good points, particularly below about load carriage. Two other things to consider, that people never seem to think about.

      While I can understand desires to open up more opportunities to women, we may be setting them up for a lot of pain later in life.

      – though some items like uniforms vary in weight according to body size, those differences are negligible, and though a smaller person might need less food and water, the weight difference for those requirements are also fairly small; however, items like rifles, ammo, radios, batteries and so forth all weigh what they weigh. If you weigh 200lbs and have to bring 100lbs of kit with you, that’s 50% of your body weight. Saving weight with smaller clothes etc may get a female’s down to 90lbs. If she weighs 150lbs, that’s 60% of her weight.
      – a career spent with loads that are a greater percentage of body weight may lead to a lot more orthopedic problems later in life. Most vets already have orthopedic problems to deal with. Given the average female is smaller than the average male, with smaller bones, smaller surface area on vertebral discs, etc, to share load bearing, it could be a question of heaping a rather unfair burden, long term, on women.

      In a peace time military we won’t see these problems nearly as much. We all know how garrison life changes things – all the west point grads ‘super soldiers’ will just run around showing everyone how fast they run and trying to convince people that makes them warriors. When the wars start, and they will, all of that will change and soldiers will spend more time in their kit than out of it. In addition to the combat aspect, the op tempo and increased time with load carriage are true game changers.

        Bruce Hayden in reply to TtT. | September 21, 2015 at 4:31 am

        Maybe making this worse, females seem to not do as well physically over the long term with physical stress on their bodies. It appears that many more of them, if not most, end up with stress fractures that prevent them from completing the top tier combat classes (Ranger, SEAL, etc)

        And, I have a hard time believing that you could get a 10 lb reduction with smaller clothes.


The Marines are an assault force. Their purpose is to attack, and attack quickly. That’s not just a slogan; there are sound tactical reasons for this doctrine, dating back to the era when they operated almost exclusively with the Navy. This aggressive doctrine makes them a very useful complement to the other US armed forces which are not so exclusively devoted to assault.

A Marine who doesn’t punch back against a politician who is—even if inadvertently—determined to undermine the ability of the Corps to be the most effective assault force it can be would not be doing his duty to the Corps or to the United States.

[Full disclosure—Not a Marine, just an American who’s on their side.]

    Ragspierre in reply to tom swift. | September 20, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I don’t consider women in Army infantry any more fit for that role. They simple are not.

    That said, MAYBE…depending on rigorous and OBJECTIVE testing…women can serve in SOME armor MOS positions, SOME kinds of artillery, and other “combat” MOS positions.

    They’ve made fine combat pilots.

      They also make good snipers, ask Dr. Ruth, former Israeli sniper.

        Ragspierre in reply to genes. | September 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm

        Well, there are “good shots” and there are Chris Kyle-type modern snipers.

        But, hey, I’m open to ANY testable hypothesis! IF women make good modern-day snipers, cool!

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | September 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm

          I was trained as a Light Fighter Engineer (eventually Sapper, then Ranger) when I went into the Army. Now being a Light Fighter means that we carried less kit because we were supposed to insert via Chopper which have weight restrictions. My “Reduced kit” meant that my pack could not weigh more than 80 lbs. to 120 lbs. That is just my pack, not my chest rig with ammo, grenades, knives, tools, and so on and so on. That didn’t include my main weapon and sidearm. Now I was an engineer so with the ordinance we generally carried and its attendant paraphernalia my pack generally weighed in the upper limit of that range. Once I moved out of Light Fighter that weight restriction disappeared.

          At the time I weighed in right around 200 lbs, Height 6′ 1″, and ran 8 miles at least 5 days a week. I had a 58 inch chest and a 36 inch waist. My max bench press was somewhere right around 400 lbs and I could leg press just under 3/4’s of a ton. I can tell you from experience that pack just gets heavier and heavier the longer you are on mission, regardless of what you take out of it.

          How is a female that is 5′ 7″ and weighs 120 lbs supposed to keep up with that without impacting the combat abilities of the unit?

          justaguy in reply to Ragspierre. | September 20, 2015 at 6:58 pm


          justaguy in reply to Ragspierre. | September 20, 2015 at 7:04 pm

          That was evidence of women making good snipers or artillery-persons who lug very heavy rounds around for hours. It was sarcastic because evidence doesn’t matter, the decision has been made, so we will live with it. Remember, unless we are existentially threatened, why not use our expensive military as a testing environment?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | September 20, 2015 at 7:41 pm

          Actually there have been several studies and women tend to have slightly higher reaction times, which makes them better pilots. Women also tend to have better basic shooting scores, though I have never really heard a credible reason why. Now neither of those “advantages” are even a full percentage point difference, but people like to point them out for some reason.

          I guess the reaction times as a pilot could be significant since 1/10 of a second faster could be the difference between life and death.

          However, as far as the shooting and sniper thing. What most people don’t consider about that is that the shooting part of sniper training is really a secondary part of the training. By the time you make it to sniper school they already know that you can shoot, what the school does is train you how to evade, hide, and get to the location to make that awesome shot. It is meant to give you the skills you need for survival and escape after you make that shot. So yea you might be able to hit a 6 inch pie plate from 800 yards with your rifle, but then again so can others that have failed to make sniper.

          DaveGinOly in reply to Ragspierre. | September 21, 2015 at 12:51 am

          The Soviet Army fielded many very successful female snipers in the Great Patriotic War. (Known to you capitalist pigs as “World War II.”)

          One way to find out if women are as good as men in combat – form all-female combat units, throw them into the fire, and see what happens. If they really are as good, entire units of them should fare just as well as men. Personally, being a vet (US Army scout), I think women may make fine fighters, but they are very rarely up to the physical rigors imposed on combat soldiers. For instance, if you have a tank with four crew, and that tank needs some kind of repair in the field, it often takes at least four strong men to make the repair, and sometimes all that’s available is the crew. Throw one female into the crew, and I can guarantee that there will be common repairs that crew can’t perform by itself for having one under-strength crewmember.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to genes. | September 20, 2015 at 7:43 pm

        Yes, she was trained as a marksman. However she never actually got to fight since very early in her career she was wounded by an artillery shell going off near her.

When Mabus rejected the study, not based on the actual results but based on his personal feelings, he proved himself unfit to lead.

I wonder how many of these Obama flag rank officers will resign when there is a new CinC? I’ll bet that a lot of them will. One thing about all of those Obama appointees in the civilian area, they will not (hopefully) in office anymore.

    Once a collectivist gets firmly attached to a state teat they rarely let loose of it by choice.

    Fiftycaltx in reply to Stan25. | September 20, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Well, if Jeb! or any of the other RINOs is the next Prezzi, you can expect the Obama staff to stay. Jeb! and the others couldn’t take the chance of being called “racist” or something. Obama has gotten rid of all the upper and middle tank military that don’t agree with Obama’s “meals on wheels” approach to military. We’ll be lucky if no more than 1/2 the remaining leaders know anything about soldiering.

    And they will probably keep all the Obama era DOJ attorneys. “Fast and Furious” was just a minor hitch in the campaign to disarm Amerika.

They sacrificed human relationships to prove a point.

They sacrificed human babies to prove a point.

They insist on sacrificing a few good women to prove a point.

Perhaps that’s why Obama destabilized and expanded wars in the Middle East, Africa, and Eurasia… to prove a point.

The Left took women out of the kitchen to become taxable commodities, perpetually pregnant (e.g. womb banks for male transgenders), and human sacrifices to prove a point.

That said, form a unit with pro-choice women and send them into combat with their terrorist counterparts. They can be tagged #CecileTheAbortionist and operate under the PP banner.

I wonder how the military will react to a bunch of pro-choicers running amuck and indiscriminately killing millions of wholly innocent human beings. Unless those human beings are the enemy soldiers or combatants, it could be bad for the cause.

“This is not the first time that Hunter has challenged civilian decisions …”

Well, no. Not quite. What Hunter is challenging is the executive branch’s rejection of an expert military opinion.

And they asked for that advice.

When I was in the Navy 90% of the women couldn’t handle the damage control equipment. Yeah, the dewatering pumps, the fire fighting pumps, the generators, what have you, has to be hauled up and down ladders. The Navy probably vies with the Chair Force for “least physically Active Service.” But what physical activity there was, 9 out of 10 women couldn’t handle it.

At this point I expect some Army type to weigh in and say he’s come across some chick who can handle the load. Well, ok. Really? You’ve been out on patrol with her and on day 10 she dropped trow in the middle of the trail because the s***s came upon her all of a sudden and wouldn’t let her do anything less?

Thank gawd we elected Obama, who has ended all wars and stopped the rising of the seas. At last we can afford a Navy and a military that can’t sustain combat.

So what the h3ll, women Green Berets, why not?

Margaret Thatcher. Golda Meir.

You’ll never hear my name mentioned alongside those.

If hauling pumps and generators up and down ladders on a ship is a test of leadership then it’s a pi$$ poor test.

I can even pass it. Better women than me can’t.

“If hauling pumps and generators up and down ladders on a ship is a test of leadership then it’s a pi$$ poor test.”

It is not a test of leadership, it is a test of ability. Likewise, it is a fair test. Damage control is a key function aboard a ship. The inability to complete it compromises the vessel, as well as the mission.

This should not be confused with arbitrary requirements to prevent inclusion. If the job requires it – test it, and do not compromise it.

Let it never be said that the secular State-established pro-choice cult only supported killing of the wholly innocent in a captive environment.

If Mabus resigns then Obama can nominate a transgender person to replace him.