SUMMARY: Officials report that the Marine Corps commandant General Dunford has recommended that women not be allowed to compete for several front-line combat jobs, including infantry and reconnaissance positions. The basis of this decision is the Marine Corps gender integration yearlong study, which concluded that overall male-only units performed better than gender-integrated units. The study’s report also cited several outdated sources, including a 25 year-old report by a presidential commission on women in the armed forces that concluded that having women in combat is “morally wrong.” The Marine Corps’ recommendation has inflamed debate over whether Navy Secretary Ray Mabus can veto the proposal. Mabus has recently come under fire for publicly criticizing the study, saying, it “relied on averages… and a lot of the things that women fell a little short in can be remedied by two things: training and leadership.” He went on to say on a different occasion, “I’m not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines, and it’s not going to make them any less fighting effective.” Mabus sides with the other branches, which are all expected to allow women in combat without exceptions. Republican congressman, and ex-Marine Duncan Hunter has called for Mabus’ resignation, on the basis that Mabus “openly disrespected the Marine Corps as an institution.”
The usual process will see the service chiefs present their plans to service secretaries, who will then forward recommendations to the US Defense Secretary Ash Carter. There is seemingly a conflict of interest, as General Dunford will take over as chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs and will likely defend his recommendation, even when the Army, Navy, Air Force and SOCOM are not submitting exceptions. It is no surprise that when women only make up less than 8% of the Marine Corps, it is the only branch pushing for exceptions, especially since the Army, Navy and Air Force are expected to allow women in combat jobs without exceptions.
SOURCES: Lolita C Baldor, September 18 2015, ‘AP Sources: Marines seek to close combat jobs to women,’ Marine Corps Times, http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/09/18/ap-sources-marines-seek-close-combat-jobs-women/72398172/