Will feminizing the Marines win wars?

Summary: The USMC has lowered the requirements in its 13-week Infantry Officer Course, following more drastic measures in the other services. More women to pass, but at what cost? This shows the powerful forces at work reshaping both the US military and US society. Here is the story plus speculation about the future.

Corporal Nelfi Tineoferreiras, USMC
Corporal Nelfi Tineoferreiras, USMC. Honored as III MEF’s Marine of the Year on 8 Feb 2018. Photo by Lance Cpl. Jamin M. Powell. Source here.

Softening the Marines: “Passing Combat Endurance Test is no longer required for infantry officers

By Shawn Snow in the Marine Corps Times.

The Marine Corps added the Combat Endurance Test to officer training in the 1990s, with passing it a requirement for infantry officers. This article about a change to this policy is a triumph of modern propaganda.

“In a slight change to the grueling initial stage of the 13-week Infantry Officer Course, Marines will no longer be required to pass the Combat Endurance Test to move on. The Corps has come under criticism for what some have claimed to be unnecessarily high standards to graduate from the course.  …Training Command said in a statement to Marine Corps Times …’The quality of the course remains the same.’

“The Combat Endurance Test is an intense physical test that assesses a Marine’s endurance and knowledge gained from The Basic School, and is used as a tool to evaluate a Marine’s potential success in the infantry course. Previously it was scored as a simple pass or fail, but now the test will no longer be used to weed Marines out. The officers will continue to take a Combat Evaluation Test, but their score will be just one of many components of the course considered for a student’s overall evaluation.

It is not a slight change in one of the most grueling gateways to leadership of US Marines.

“To date, only one unnamed female Marine has successfully completed the entire course. But Marine officials at Training Command contend the changes are not an effort to water down standards. …In 2014, three female Marines passed the CET, only to be dropped two weeks later in the infantry course …after failing to keep up on long marches with what the Marines call an approach-march load, which the Corps defines as “the load necessary for the prosecution of combat operations for extended periods with access to daily resupply. …

“The Corps also says the changes were not a result of high attrition rates. ‘The average attrition rate for the CET between 2012 and 2017 was less than 3%,’ Training Command said.

The changes were not a result of high attrition rate among men. A skeptic might wonder if they resulted from the high attrition rate among women. Here Dalrock looks back at the small steps that brought the Marines to this point (posted with permission)…

The Force is Female

Setting a record in trailblazing.

“On September 21, 2017 the Washington Post triumphantly announced that the first woman had completed the Marine Infantry Officer Course:

‘In a historic first, the Marine Corps plans to assign a female officer to the infantry following her anticipated graduation from its grueling training program, service officials said Thursday.’

“Four days later came the NY Times Op Ed explaining that women Marines would be accepted as combat officers because their peers would know they are the real deal:

‘By integrating only women who have already met the infantry’s difficult training standards, the corps acknowledges that military readiness is paramount. At the end of the day, this newly minted infantry officer will prove herself by the way she carries herself around her fellow Marines. Peer leadership, too, will be important. Her classmates have seen her perform and can be powerful allies as she integrates into the operating forces.’

“Indeed, as the Op Ed concluded, this was the beginning of a brave new world:

‘I anticipate there will be little fanfare from the Marine Corps regarding the graduation. As The Times has noted, the Army’s graduation ceremony for its first female infantry soldiers made no mention that some of them were women — and that is as it should be. Monday’s graduation is important because it paves the way for women in combat arms not to be a big deal in the future. Like her male classmates, this officer has met an exceptionally high standard. Soon, she will be just one more Marine infantry lieutenant, picking up her first platoon.’

“But this brave new world where women were just as tough as the men and had to meet historic standards was not only short lived, it was a universe of one.  Having proved that they could (by hook or crook) graduate one woman through the Infantry Officer Program without officially making the course much easier, the Marine Corps waited just over four months to stop pretending women could qualify without changing the rules. …”

—————————————

The effect of these changes is corrosive on morale. The party line is that everybody is treated equally. That’s mocked when the standards are lowered with denials about the motive for doing so. Also, modern armies (like ours) have an almost unbroken record of failure since WWII against insurgents. With one or two exceptions, these have been all male fighters. Perhaps we should consult them — the winners in modern wars — about the utility of women as fighters.

Looking to the future

The Future is Female
How the Men at One Office Reassured Their Coworkers That ‘The Future Is Female.’

Stating what should be obvious: “Army General: ‘future leader of Army will be an infantry woman’“, a press release by DoD Public Affairs.

“I just know that the future leader of the Army is going to be a woman because that person is going to be infantry and come up through the ranks and do it. I know they can,” said Maj. Gen. Marion Garcia during the discussion. Garcia is the commanding general, 200th Military Police Command, headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Also obvious but oddly unremarked: women are advancing faster than men in America. Their graduation rates are higher (the gap is growing). They have a disproportionate fraction of leadership roles in youth and school groups. Young women have caught up to men in corporate America. I have heard anecdotal reports that they are advancing faster than men in the military. For good reason. Women have a substantial advantage in bureaucracies that govern America. They color inside the lines — obeying the rules and following instructions.

I have seen another dimension of their advantage in Boy Scout’s Venture program. Middle aged male leaders prefer respectful girls over young bucks who challenge them. People in other kinds of organizations report seeing the same phenomenon.

Of course, women’s growing political power accelerates these trends. See the five women Defense Ministers of NATO (L-R): Albania, Holland, Germany, Norway, and Italy.

5 women NATO defense ministers
Olivier Hoslet / EPA.

Looking to the end of these trends

It is typical of the news media that they go hysterical over trends as they are not just ending, but reversing. Oppression of women is a daily feature of front page news. Meanwhile organizations are restructured to meet their needs, to the disadvantage of men. Schools were just the first to be so “reformed.” Now it is the military’s turn. None can predict where this will end. My bet is on these changes continuing to a degree we cannot now imagine (just as we 50 years ago we could not imagine today’s situation).

Perhaps much of America will look like a meeting of Huffington Post editors, proudly tweeted by their Executive Editor Liz Heron.

With great confidence I will predict the result of these changes: massive unanticipated consequences. We are like monkeys in the control room of a nuclear power plant, throwing switches and spinning dials. We have ideology but little knowledge, arrogantly making profound changes with experimentation and testing.

For More Information

Other useful articles about this.

The Marine Corps continues to lower standards while denying that they are doing so.  See Dalrock give a brief debunking to their announcement using only the article’s own words.

Ideas! For Holiday shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women, society, & gender wars, especially these…

  1. Putting women in combat: a quick look at the other side of the debate.
  2. About the future of an American army with women as combat soldiers.
  3. Women in combat are the real Revolution in Military Affairs.
  4. News about the battle for women’s equality in our armed forces.
  5. Martin van Creveld looks at Amazons: women warriors in the real world.
  6. Martin van Creveld looks at the experience of women in the Israel Defense Forces.
  7. Martin van Creveld: women are a problem in the military, not the cure.

Two books to help us understand the new military being built for America.

The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America’s Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars by Stephanie Gutmann (2000).

Men, Women & War: Do Women Belong in the Front Line? by Martin van Creveld (2002).

The Kinder ,Gentler Military
Available at Amazon.
Men Women and War
Available at Amazon.

 

49 thoughts on “Will feminizing the Marines win wars?

  1. Having served as an officer I can say that females are probably better suited to command than alpha males. Even in the Marines the physical demands of modern warfare are modest. The big issues of organization and supply and interpersonal interaction and political correctness are difficult for many men. War is simply not hand to hand combat anymore and the American people are not willing to sacrifice their soldiers man for man against any enemy that can produce masses of young fighting age men for cheap as they do in Africa and the Muslim world. So in any future conflict it will be weapons, cash, and politics that will prevail…..not physical strength.

    1. Felix,

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

      “So in any future conflict it will be weapons, cash, and politics that will prevail.”

      That is clearly false as stated. Foreign armies have a vast superiority in “weapons and cash” over insurgents. Yet foreign armies have an almost unbroken record of failure vs. them since Mao brought 4GW to maturity after WWII.

      1. How often do insurgents win?  How much time does successful COIN require? — Analysis by Robert W. Chamberlain (Captain, US Army).
      2. A major discovery! It could change the course of US geopolitical strategy, if we’d only see it.  — Andrew Exum (aka Abu Muqawama) points us to the doctoral dissertation of Erin Marie Simpson in Political Science from Harvard.  She examines the present and past analysis of  counter-insurgency.  This could change the course of American foreign policy, if we pay attention.
      3. A look at the history of victories over insurgents. — A study by RAND.
      4. COINistas point to Kenya as a COIN success. In fact it was an expensive bloody failure.

      “…..not physical strength”

      Perhaps not. But the insurgents that have defeated foreign armies are mostly all male fighters.

    2. Yes but have you ever seen a woman try to choose a pair of pants? Ask her to do the same thing while bullets and bombs are flying past her.

    3. Javier,

      If Marine Corporal Nelfi Tineoferreiras were here, she would give your patronizing remark a suitably devastating put-down.

    4. August 9th, 378 AD grows ever nearer.
      .
      .
      Editor’s note: That is the date of the Battle of Adrianople. From Wikipedia:

      It “was fought between an Eastern Roman army led by the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels …led by Fritigern. The battle took place about 13 km (8 mi) north of Adrianople (modern Edirne in European Turkey, near the border with Greece and Bulgaria) in the Roman province of Thracia. It ended with an overwhelming victory for the Goths and the death of Emperor Valens.

      Part of the Gothic War (376–382), the battle is often considered the start of the process which led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.[by whom? – Discuss] It was fought by the forces of the Eastern Roman Empire, which outlasted the Western Empire by nearly 1,000 years.”

    5. Jennings,

      Please explain. What would be an equivalent conflict today?

      I added description of Adrianople to your comment.

  2. When is the last time the US even had a real victory? Grenada? I doubt that the gender of your soldiers makes a difference.

    1. Tony,

      “I doubt that the gender of your soldiers makes a difference.”

      The forces that defeated us have been all men as fighters. Perhaps they disagree with you.

    2. Mike,

      (1) That’s the 5th time I made that observation. The other times I was more specific – as in the post: “Also, modern armies (like ours) have an almost unbroken record of failure since WWII against insurgents. With one or two exceptions, these have been all male fighters.”

      (2) I don’t consider suicide bombers to be “fighters”, members of an armed force. Insurgents can also use children and dogs to deliver bombs. Do you want them as officers?

  3. The idea that “modern war” doesn’t require fitness is completely wrong. The modern infantryman carries far more weight than his WW 2 ancestor. About 35 pounds on average and it’s going up.

    This drop in standards was however inevitable as equality of opportunity quickly became the desire to have equality of success. The “approach march” will be modified next. The major effect will be to allow male officer standards to drop which will knock on to the troops. Some of the luster will be taken off being a Marine as it get’s easier to be one. Lowering standards will somewhat counter intuitively make recruiting harder which will drive lowering standards. See Canada for an example of the drive to lower standards to meet quotas in the military. Their military effectively has no fitness standards outside of SOF and specialist trades such as diver of search and rescue technician.

    Very few women will want to be infantry officers. The attempt to change the rules so the few who do can pass will be detrimental to the entire corps.

    1. Phageghost,

      As they say, train hard and fight easy. The training sets bar for the officers, not a standard that they will maintain. Lost wisdom.

      Thanks for the cite of the MCG article. It further supports my belief that the military will become dominated by women. They score very high on the things a military bureaucracy likes, as seen in the high scores by women in the officer training courses.

  4. An Army Infantry Grunt with 3 tours in Vietnam under his belt told me the most dangerous creature on the planet would be a woman’s brain in a man’s body.

    Think about that one. It hit me because I had read I Will Fear No Evil by Heinlein.

    OTOH, I have read Lind’s Victoria and Crevelds essays on the subject and have to agree.

    1. Longtrail,

      “most dangerous creature on the planet would be a woman’s brain in a man’s body.”

      He was PC before PC. We’re told that women’s minds are just like guys — except in the many ways that they are better. There is a large genre of articles about things women are better than men at, but little saying the opposite.

      “because I had read I Will Fear No Evil by Heinlein.”

      Heinlein is a rare author in that his books express contradictory points of view. Few have that breadth of vision.

    1. Gerard,

      “that huff post tweet that worries me the most.”

      Why?

      Interesting that the critics were mostly OK with the absence of men (50% of the population), but unhappy at the absence of Blacks (10%) and Hispanics (~15%?).

    2. Who controls the informational high ground controls the fight. The fact that she tweeted a photo where they had eliminated all male editoral staff shows that the more militant feminists want not equality but domination.

  5. If a guy posted “look at the photo do you notice anything” and it was all dudes there would be hell to pay. Lowering standards was enevitable. I just wish my Corps hadn’t caved-in to the demands of the PC nonsense. And woman make better officers than alpha males? Thinking like that is the problem. I heard that same crap about female police officers being better at calming people down. Guess what happens – they get their asses kicked. Dudes selling out other dudes for what end? See, they need you and your fudged up thinking to accomplish all this. A female infantry officer COA one day. I bet she’s promoted in record time because of her gender. I’m gonna puke. This is not going to end well.

    Don’t lower standards, pass the same freakin tests and then you’ve earned it. When Starship Troopers suits become real then it won’t matter.

    1. Gute,

      “And woman make better officers than alpha males?”

      They do, depending on what you consider relevant standards. They are more respectful to their superiors than young studs. They complete their work on time, they follow instructions, their work is neat and spelled correctly. They can master technical details as well as men.

      Organizations measure what they consider important, and reward those things.

      The unasked question is about results in a competitive world. For the military, that is winning wars. The record of the US since WWII shows that is not very important to DoD. Our generals are good-looking and articulately explain the party line. Women can do that as well as men.

      To see our future, look at the publicity mills. About the winter olympics — women athletes get the most coverage. Look at NOAA’s publicity about scientists — mostly women.

    2. “…[women make better officers than alpha males], depending on what you consider relevant standards. They are more respectful to their superiors than young studs. They complete their work on time, they follow instructions, their work is neat and spelled correctly. They can master technical details as well as men.

      Organizations measure what they consider important, and reward those things.”

      Just so. The things you cite are all parade-ground traits selected for in peacetime armies: McClellan’s priorities, not Grant’s. In US history at least, the military typically suffered defeat in the early months of war, until such time as the peacetime generals could be cashiered and replaced by wartime generals.

    3. craig,

      Great point! Another example is the British Navy’s long indifference to gunnery marksmanship (it got the ship dirty).

  6. It’s telling that the CET was dropped; in my experience long distances with heavy loads is probably the most difficult task for females. At every level of my military experience, we (males) would crossload rucks from females. In Afghanistan we utilized FETs, and on every mission that I can remember, a female either passed out and/or had to be crossloaded.

    I don’t want to imply that females are unfit for combat. One of our best vehicle gunners was a female. But in terms of pure physical abilities, MOST female soldiers are not capable of things MOST male soldiers are.

    1. Dough,

      “I don’t want to imply that females are unfit for combat.”

      This is a standard comment when discussing this topic. What does it mean? For example — Do we recruit men because they can do some aspects of some jobs? Men can be good vehicle gunners, although they can’t do many other tasks front-line soldiers sometimes have to do.

    2. “[I don’t want to imply that females are unfit for combat] is a standard comment when discussing this topic. What does it mean?”

      It is the obligatory pinch of incense to Caesar, offered to avoid the punishment that would occur were it spurned. Cf. the (apocryphal?) Voltaire quote: to learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.

    3. I should have been more clear. I was differentiating between different kinds of combat. Women can stand in a gun turret or pilot aircraft and kill people (modern techno-combat) as effectively as males, that much seems obvious. By “pure physical abilities” I meant light infantry duties like the subject of this article. If the Marines are going to subtract an important screen out element I think that is a Bad Thing.

    4. Dough,

      Opinions differ on that. The “they can’t do it” school have been discredited by their confident but failed predictions about Blacks and gay men.

      Time will tell.

  7. Jim Donald explains exactly what happens when women are integrated into the police force and army:

    The feminized police force and army.

    As soon as any profession is infiltrated by women, pay and prestige go way down, and men abandon the field. Men will still enlist for the free training until that training is watered down to nothing.

    1. Dave,

      Thanks for mentioning this phenomenon. Lots of examples during the past two centuries. Clerks and secretaries in the US and Europe. Doctors in Russia.

    2. Dave,

      While Donald’s post goes way beyond anything I think is reasonable, the phenomenon he reports is quite real. I was at the 101 California Street shooting (San Francisco) in 1993, in an office on one of the floors the shooter attacked. We locked ourselves in; the police told us to wait. Which we did — for hours, while people bled to death outside our door. I still feel guilty about that.

    3. “beyond anything I think is reasonable”

      If there’s one word to describe Jim Donald, it certainly isn’t “reasonable”. But then, what do the rest of us get for being reasonable? Leftists are never reasonable in their demands, so every time we negotiate, they get 80% of what they wanted, pushing the political ratchet leftward again and again.

      Notice how it was perfectly “reasonable” to oppose gay marriage in 2012, at least if your name was Barack Obama, but you’re worse than Hitler if you hold such an opinion today. Leftism is advancing so quickly that left-wing ideas become right-wing ideas in a matter of months.

      The only “reasonable” thing to do is isolate myself and my family from this madness while leftists go Pol Pot on each other. Reality is right-wing and non-negotiable; the Left cannot win because no outcome exists that counts as a victory for them, but they can drag a lot of good people down with them.

    4. Dave,

      “this madness while leftists go Pol Pot on each other.”

      Go easy on the Kool-aid.

    5. It’s not like we’ve never had a civil war before, see 1860, 1776, 1642, 1455… And that’s just white English-speakers; other ethnicities are much quicker to break out the muskets. The two Americas have already stopped talking to each other; it’s only a matter of time before they start shooting each other. We’re in a civil cold war, which Jim expects to go hot around 2026.

      With the last civil war two lifetimes behind us, we take peace on the home front for granted. Peace is when everyone plays by the rules laid down by the winner of the last war, and no tribe or faction tries to exploit those rules to crush another. War breaks out when the people in power don’t expect it, because if they expected it, they’d dial down the repression a little bit (like how the Feds stopped shooting up the homes of random white supremacists after the OKC bombing).

    6. Dave,

      (1) “It’s not like we’ve never had a civil war before”

      The world has had super-volcanoes erupt before. That doesn’t mean it will happen again soon. They are rare in any giving society.

      (2) “The two Americas have already stopped talking to each other”

      Both sides won’t stop talking to each other. It would take a miracle to get everybody to shut up for ten minutes.

      (3) “it’s only a matter of time before they start shooting each other.”

      That’s not much evidence. The current level of social division is nothing compared to that in the 1965-1975.

  8. Will feminizing the Marines help win wars? The answer is no, but the real problem here is that, judging by the results obtained, we don’t seem to know how to go about winning a war, or even what victory would look like. No one seems to think that victory is at hand in Afghanistan, and since we’ve had to road map to victory these last 17 years, I don;t expect the addition of women to the infantry to improve our prospects.

    If we’re going to start viewing the military as some sort of civil service jobs program, then I suppose we could award officer slots on some kind of spoils system, as long as we don’t expect our civil service military to win a seriously contested war. (There were quite a few political Generals in the Civil War, and they frequently performed badly) If the purpose of the military is to further the sort of social science experimentation that has wrecked marriage, then I suppose that feminized Marines can help the Left win the Gender Wars, or whatever. But limit your expectations if your Genderfluid troops have to face the Taliban, ISIL, The PLA, or what have you.

    We have some history of sending badly trained and/or badly led troops into combat and getting away with it so long as we have a massive advantage in indirect firepower that we can actually use. I don’t think we should always expect to have that, and this new policy seems to assume more of a safety margin than we really have. I remember many years ago (The late 70’s) reading a comment by an officer of the 24th Infantry Division about how his unit, which was understood to have some pretty serious deficiencies at the time, would fare in combat. His answer was that they’d do OK ‘With a little luck, a downhill run, and the wind at their backs”. That may be what we have here.

  9. Larry,
    Glad to. Let’s disregard our only two near peer competitors China and Russia (shaky at best). Either one of which if they felt pressed or frisky enough could slide a pretty good sucker punch into us. But let’s hope all sides maintain cool heads.

    When I went to special weapons courier school back in the early 70s. They had one of the mad scientist from New Mexico come talk to us. He said, “Everything was cool until sometime after the turn of the century. Then nuclear weapons technology would start leaking out to unstable actors. Like possibly Iran (religious nuts) or North Korea (just garden variety nuts). Then all bets would be off.” Well here we are.

    Take one of those nukes and tramp steamer or truck it into Guam, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Norfolk, or DC. You have demonstrated to the world, “The Emperor has no clothes”, or head in the case of DC, or Aircraft Carriers in the case of Norfolk. We aren’t even getting into genetically engineered bio weapons or EMP scenarios.
    Any of these scenarios would be a “Day of the Barbarians” moment.

    Back to the “dead canary in the coal mine moment” of degrading the warrior ethos of the USMC Infantry units in order to allow a minuscule number of hyper ambitious women to have a chance at being Commandant someday.

    I was an Aviator, but twice fate sent me to live with the grunts in the jungles, while I served as a pampered Forward Air Controller. Unless you have seen it with your own eyes, you have no way of fathoming the unbelievably animalistic environment a Marine Infantry Unit engaged in peer level combat becomes. Read the novel “Matterhorn” for a taste.

    Are there freaks of nature women who can do it, and survive physically and emotionally? I suspect there are. But they are out on the long tail of the bell curve. The entire elite psychology of our fierce infantry warriors is about to be compromised in order to accommodate the ambitions of these freaks and their political sponsors.

    The proud Roman Legions went through a process of degradation in the fourth century, but it only became apparent for all to see at the battle of Adrianople in 378 AD.

    Same process in play for the American Imperial forces, and like the late Romans not a damn thing we can do to stop it.

    1. Jennings,

      (1) “Like possibly Iran (religious nuts) or North Korea (just garden variety nuts).”

      Perhaps nuke proliferation will have the effects you describe. I doubt it. The vision of mad Iranian mullahs using nukes is a DoD fantasy to juice the defense budget. N. Korea is difficult to assess, but has been quite cautious since 1953 in avoiding a war that would bring certain destruction to them.

      (2) “he proud Roman Legions went through a process of degradation in the fourth century, but it only became apparent for all to see at the battle of Adrianople in 378 AD.”

      The Roman legions lost a lot of battles during the history of the Republic and Empire, so the mere fact of defeat tells us nothing. This was an army of the Eastern Roman Empire, which survived in one form or another for another 1,075 years. Again, not exactly evidence that their army had degraded severely in 378. The western Empire collapsed during the next century. The East’s failure to bar the door contributed to that, but that can’t be blamed on the West’s legions.

      More broadly, I see no large similarities between the Roman Empire and our situation. See America isn’t falling like the Roman Empire. It’s falling like Rome’s Republic.

  10. Arguments about the nature of combat or the necessary qualities for infantry officers are interesting but largely irrelevant. Military performance is the last thing on the minds of the pols pushing women in the infantry. The aim is to put an end to a male bastion. Whether the resulting organization wins or loses on the battlefield doesn’t even occur to them. The chances they’ve thought out the question is close to zero.

    A Canadian legislator (who was very keen on female infantry) was observing a co-ed platoon on the march. A female soldier was carrying a GPMG (weight about 26 lbs) and clearly in distress. She asked a NCO why “she had to carry the gun”. “It’s her turn”. The MP then asked “why can’t you get her a lighter one”.

    1. setg,

      “Whether the resulting organization wins or loses on the battlefield doesn’t even occur to them. The chances they’ve thought out the question is close to zero.”

      That’s certainly quite false, as shown by the large number of articles and speeches by advocates of women in combat. There are two schools of advocates.

      First, feminists — many of whom are men, some of whom are/were in the military (e.g., women officers). Most of these know that women can do just as good a job.

      Second, advocates of a strong American military. They see the trend — the decreasing fraction of men who want to be in the military AND whom the military want (e.g., meet their physical & educational standards, no serious history of crime or drugs). Women are the obvious and easy source of more bodies.

    2. You’re being sarcastic right? But just in case.

      There’s no evidence “they can do just a good a job” . Women have just been let in the infantry and the numbers are so small that no general positive statement can be made. But since fitness and aggression are major parts of being an infantryman the chances are that the opposite is true. Could you provide examples of articles explaining how the USMC needs female infantrymen to maintain or even increase it’s combat power. I’d be interested in the logic.

      The failure to attract qualified men into the infantry can hardly be offset by opening up spots to women. The numbers who want to be infantrymen and could pass are minuscule. Foreign males would be a better bet without the need to lower fitness standards. You could also recruit more women and have them replace male recruits in soft trades while channeling the men into the infantry.

      If the people you cited are actually concerned about combat performance they could also examine how to get more qualified men to join. The USMC annually discharges thousands of male soldiers who don’t make their cut for performance. A slight reduction in that number would more than make up for losing out on potential female grunts and save money training recruits.

    3. setrg,

      (1) “You’re being sarcastic right?”

      No. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people with such views.

      (2) “There’s no evidence “they can do just a good a job”.”

      First, I didn’t say there was evidence – nor did your original statement. You referred to what people believe.

      Second, there is some evidence. All claims in the past century that “women can’t do XX” have proven false. Women have fought in some insurgencies. Slightly in WII France and Norway, more in WWII Yugoslavia, the women’s units of the Kurds in the recent years, and most notably in Eritrea.

      (3) “The failure to attract qualified men into the infantry can hardly be offset by opening up spots to women.”

      Your rebuttal assumes that you are correct.

      (4) “If the people you cited are actually concerned about combat performance they could also examine how to get more qualified men to join.”

      The US military devotes a great deal of effort to that. They know a lot more about this than you and I.

  11. If the next big war pivots around which army is the most politically correct, the new US look will win hands down. Otherwise, effete egalitarians will take everyone down with them.

  12. We’re discussing a professional military with a set number of places. What other forces- guerillas and people who have mobilized as many people as they can do isn’t relevant. I don’t expect Partisans cared much about education, background checks or per-existing conditions. If you set quotas for special groups who are not inclined to join the standards will be lowered and people who are qualified but not in a favored group may be rejected.

    It was pretty clear that the USMC wasn’t keen on female infantry but of course the people who controlled it’s budget and had input in very senior promotions were, so it caved. As Eisenhower said (paraphrased) – if you gave out an extra star to anyone who cut their costs you’d be in danger from the stampede of people returning money.

    The argument isn’t whether you could find a good female rifle platoon commander. It might be possible. The discussion is about how the search for women who can pass will drive down standards.The Marine Corps Times reported today that the requirements for passing timed marches on the platoon commanders course had been cut from 8-9 out of 9 to 3 out of 9. This while it simultaneously acknowledges the physical strain on the infantryman has never been greater.

    1. Setg,

      (1) “What other forces- guerillas and people who have mobilized as many people as they can do isn’t relevant.”

      You’ve forgotten your own statement. You said ““There’s no evidence ‘they can do just a good a job’.” I pointed out there women have done well in a small number of insurgencies. Combat by insurgents is in most respects more demanding than by conventional forces — and certainly more dangerous. That is evidence of their ability to fight. It has not been, so far as I’ve found, well studied – so we have little hard data on exactly what women did in those forces — and how well they performed. But it is evidence.

      (2) “people who are qualified but not in a favored group may be rejected.”

      That’s a serious problem. On the other hand, there is evidence that the US military worries about current trends — and the possibility of a day when they cannot find enough men willing AND able to be in the front lines in a serious war. So they are preparing. Think of this as small scale R&D for larger use later. You or I might not agree, but it is not irrational.

      (3) “The discussion is about how the search for women who can pass will drive down standards.”

      Yes, that is the point of this post. Also note the effect of the way they are doing so. As I said:

      “The effect of these changes is corrosive on morale. The party line is that everybody is treated equally. That’s mocked when the standards are lowered with denials about the motive for doing so.”

      (4) “The Marine Corps Times reported today that the requirements for passing timed marches …”

      Yes, that’s important news — showing the motive of these matters. The Marine Corps continues to lower standards while denying that they are doing so.  See Dalrock give a brief debunking to their announcement using only the article’s own words.

  13. FM,

    I would be interested in your opinion on the possibility of a particular unintended consequence of this and other contemporary changes to long-standing military policies. I am curious about how the tradition of civilian control of the military will be maintained while a large number of other similarly long-standing traditions are denounced as wicked. I am concerned that we live in a country where the civilian leaders think they have far more authority and actual power over our military than they actually do.

    Thoughts?

    TridentGum

    1. Trident,

      All great questions, and over my pay grade. Even experts that I know in the US military can only guess. Except for one:

      “leaders think they have far more authority and actual power over our military than they actually do.”

      I see near-zero change in the strong civilian control over the US military. We see that today, as civilian social engineers force massive changes on the military’s core culture — and they comply. What more can you ask of them?

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