SUMMARY: Brian Wagner is a political partner with the Truman National Security Project who uses evidence from the April 27th forum ‘Women in Combat: Where they Stand,’ to debunk two main arguments against the inclusion of women in combat units.
- Women in combat units will damage unit cohesion
There is no data or study (let alone studies) that justifies the continued exclusion of women in combat for this reason. The more pertinent issue is task cohesion, the ability of unit members to work together in accomplishing a common goal. Wagner uses some of my research from Beyond the Band of Brothers that was presented at the forum, which shows minimal correlation between female integration and mission achievement, to debunk this myth. Leadership is the more relevant consideration, as strong leadership creates acceptance for and cohesion with new female members.
- Women won’t be held to the same standards as men
Gayle Lemmon commented, when observing the recent Ranger School training, that women are held to the same physical requirements as men, and some women have been operating in combat since 2011 without special treatment. Lemmon is referring to the many women who served in Cultural Support Teams that she writes about in Ashley’s War.
The Truman National Security Project and the Center for National Policy launched the No Exceptions Campaign this year, which demands full combat inclusion for anyone who meets the standard. This campaign was created to push the Defense Department to both remove policy-hurdles for integration and to completely abolish the combat ban, with no exceptions.
SOURCE: Brian Wagner, May 6 2015, ‘Opinion: The pentagon should drop the ban on women in combat units – no exceptions,’ The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/05/06/opinion-the-pentagon-should-drop-the-ban-on-women-in-combat-units-no-exceptions/