Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness and a former member of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces has issued a scathing indictment of President Obama’s plan to put women in frontline combat roles in the U.S. military.
“This kind of a social experiment is a dangerous one,” Donnelly said in announcing her opposition to Obama’s plan.
“Why is the Secretary of Defense just ramming this on through?” Donnelly asked rhetorically in an interview with NewsMax. “Well, we know why, because the administration has a pattern of irresponsible actions like this using the military to advance a social agenda.”
Donnelly said there was no justification to rush the decision prior to congressional hearings. She noted that the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, is announcing the move even as he prepares to leave his post at the Pentagon. “Congress is being shut out of any deliberative process here. It is most irresponsible,” she said.
Donnelly said the Secretary of Defense has long had his mind made up on the idea of women in frontline combat, noting that in February of last year, the Obama administration endorsed the 2011 Military Leadership Diversity Commission’s call for the Pentagon to use gender-based “diversity metrics.” Donnelly observed correctly that such metrics are merely “another word for quotas.”
As NewsMax reported, Democrats see women in combat as an opportunity issue, and say it will open up hundreds of thousands of jobs. Senator Patty Murray of Washington, hailed the decision Wednesday as a “historic step for equality.”
However, Donnelly disagrees.
“The problem is to treat women equally, when they are not equipped the same as men to deal with what it means to be part of an infantry battalion -- to treat unequals equally -- is basically unfair,” she told Newsmax.
As Donnelly noted in a recent op-ed in The Washington Times,
Thirty years of studies and reports in the United States and allied countries have shown that in a direct ground combat environment, women do not have an equal opportunity to survive or to help fellow soldiers survive. The Marines, nevertheless, began new research to evaluate the consequences of “gender diversity” in the infantry.
Pledging compliance with Defense Department regulations governing human experimentation, meaning tests involving “greater than minimal risk,” the Marines have been measuring strength and endurance among hundreds of male and female volunteers performing “common skills.” Plans briefed to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services in September 2011 called for six physical challenges, but in 2012 they were scaled back to three.
The program eliminated tougher simulations of essential ground combat skills, such as constructing a machine gun position, crawling, sprinting and negotiating obstacles with an 83-pound assault load, and the remaining three challenges were made less strenuous. Results are unavailable, but indications are that female volunteers could not match the physical capabilities of men.
Last September, female officers were invited to participate in the grueling 13-week Marine Infantry Officer Course (IOC), at Quantico, Va. Of the two women who volunteered, one left on the first day, and the second dropped out (along with 27 of 109 men) several days later. Both women deserve respect for trying, but the continuing lack of more volunteers (more than 90 are needed) will make it difficult to get sufficient data.
You can read the entire op-ed at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/21/measuring-risks-for-women-in-combat/?page=1 and Donnelly's 42 page special report on women in combat at http://www.cmrlink.org/
Should women have an equal opportunity for promotion and advancement in the military? Of course they should, but there’s no indication the patriotic and brave women who serve want those opportunities at the risk of readiness or their fellow warriors.
A female Marine gunnery sergeant who spoke to the 1992 Presidential Commission was asked whether women should be in land combat. “Not if it’s not good for the Corps, Ma’am.”
Elaine Donnelly has it right; Obama’s plan to introduce women into frontline combat roles in the U.S. military is a dangerous and irresponsible social experiment, not an opportunity for women to serve their country and advance in their chosen profession.