In 2013, the US military lifted its ban on women serving in combat. Shortly after, the Marine Corps began what it calls an “unprecedented research effort” to understand the impact of gender integration on its combat forces.
That took the form of a year-long experiment called the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, in which 400 Marines — 100 of them female — trained for combat together and then undertook a simulated deployment, with every aspect of their experience measured and scrutinized.
All branches of the military faced a January 1, 2016 deadline to open all combat roles to women, and the Marine Corps used this experiment to decide whether to request exceptions to that mandate. The Corps’ summary of the experiment concludes that combat teams were less effective when they included women.
Overall, the report says, all-male teams and crews outperformed mixed-gender ones on 69% of tasks evaluated (93 out of 134). All-male teams were universally faster “in each tactical movement.” On “lethality,” the report says:
All-male 0311 (rifleman) infantry squads had better accuracy compared to gender-integrated squads. There was a notable difference between genders for every individual weapons system (i.e. M4, M27, and M203) within the 0311 squads, except for the probability of hit & near miss with the M4.
All-male infantry crew-served weapons teams engaged targets quicker and registered more hits on target as compared to gender-integrated infantry crew-served weapons teams, with the exception of M2 accuracy.
All-male squads, teams and crews and gender-integrated squads, teams, and crews had a noticeable difference in their performance of the basic combat tasks of negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties. For example, when negotiating the wall obstacle, male Marines threw their packs to the top of the wall, whereas female Marines required regular assistance in getting their packs to the top. During casualty evacuation assessments, there were notable differences in execution times between all-male and gender-integrated groups, except in the case where teams conducted a casualty evacuation as a one-Marine fireman’s carry of another (in which case it was most often a male Marine who “evacuated” the casualty)
The report also says that female Marines had higher rates of injury throughout the experiment.
While the conclusions make it look like having women in combat isn’t a good idea, one important caveat of the tests is that many of of the male study participants had previously served in combat units, whereas female participants, by necessity, came directly from infantry schools or from noncombat jobs.
Hopefully, with more training in combat, women will be a strength for the military, but the most important thing to remember is that risking the lives of a military unit in combat to provide career opportunities or accommodate the personal desires of an individual is not only bad, but very dangerous military judgment.
However, the U.S. government is now taking things a step further.
A new Defense Department study on future of the Selective Service System recommends continuing to register young men and, for the first time, require young women to register for conscription.
A benefit of universal registration, the study argues, is that the supply of fodder for war would grow dramatically: “A broader, deeper registrant pool would enhance the ability of the [Selective Service System] to provide manpower to the Defense Department in accordance with its force needs. This is particularly important because future wars may have requirements for skills in non-combat fields in which the percentage of individuals qualified would not be as variable by gender.”
As The Washington Times translates into plain English, “sometime in the future there may not be enough men to go around.”
The current system registers 2 million draft-eligible men aged 18 to 25 annually. The Pentagon says including women would add another 11 million draftees “in short order.” In recent years, the military jobs open to women have gradually expanded beyond health services and clerical positions to include fighter pilot and even front-line combat roles.
“The registration of women,” the study argues, “would promote fairness and equity. That no segment of the population from ages 18 to 25 would be exempt from draft registration would ensure an equity not previously possible in the registration process and would comport the military selective service system with our Nation’s touchstone values of fair and equitable treatment, and equality of opportunity.”
Permitting women to serve in combat allows equal opportunity, but The Washington Times explains exactly why requiring it is a horrible idea:
Sweeping women into the draft would advance the wishes and dreams of the social engineers to “prove” that differences between male and female — whether biological or behavioral — are only imaginary. Treating men and women as equals in every way, however, would open the possibility of women being required to serve in combat where they could face injury, rape and death.
Only a handful of nations subject women to conscription now, among them Bolivia, Chad, Eritrea and North Korea. With the exception of Norway and Israel, a tiny country surrounded by enemies that drafts women but provides exemptions for motherhood and religious reasons, this is not exactly an enviable group to set the standard for the United States.
John Kelly, a distinguished Marine and the White House chief of staff, mused the other day that “When I was a kid growing up a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred and looked on with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore.”
The United States has never sent its women to do the job that men are required, by custom, nature and tradition, to do. If women are required to join men as dealers of death on the battlefield, America is surely destined for a brutish future. Women can do many things as well as men, and some things better than men. Women have certain responsibilities to bear, but going to war is not one of them.
Do you agree that women should not be drafted? Sound off in the comments below!