Pentagon Looking to Find New Ways to ‘Nurture’ Warriors and Women in Combat
August 2, 2013 - 8:20 am
Let’s stipulate a fact: Most men cannot complete US Marine Corps combat training.
Let’s stipulate another fact: Washing out trainees who cannot complete the training is one of the purposes of the training. Keep those who can complete it, weed out those who can’t.
Let’s stipulate another fact: Washing out trainees who cannot complete the training saves lives by eliminating weak links in combat units. “Weak,” in the context of military combat training, encompasses physical and mental. Most people simply are not suited to military combat, male or female.
The Pentagon is trying to integrate women into front-line combat roles, and it isn’t working. Of the six women who have volunteered for combat training, all six have washed out either due to injury or failing to complete the course. All six.
The Pentagon’s answer is to come up with what amounts to affirmative action for combat training, according to the Washington Times.
The armed services have pledged that their standards for ground combat and commando operations will be the same for men and women.
But now commanders are raising the possibility of a two-tiered training system.
The idea was presented by Rep. Niki Tsongas.“To put in place a training regimen that is ill-suited to maximizing the success of women is not really the outcome any of us want to see,” she said.
Army Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, deputy chief of staff for personnel, agreed [with Tsongas, a politician].
“We are looking at that, and we’re not looking at it just for the integration of women,” Gen. Bromberg testified. “We’re looking at it for the total soldier, because just as you have a 110-pound male who may lack some type of physiological capability or physical capability, he or she may both need to be trained differently. We’re trying to expand our understanding of how we train.”
It gets worse.
Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead Jr., deputy Marine Corps commandant for manpower, put forward a pitch for gender-segregated boot camp. The Corps is the only service that has maintained gender-segregated initial training.
“I think an excellent example of what you’re talking about is our gender-separated boot camp,” Gen. Milstead testified. “We don’t start teaching the [occupations] there. Our boot camp is about the transformation of individuals, men and women, from being a civilian to being a United States Marine. We have it separated for that reason, because we feel that this transformation, it goes on a separate track. It needs to be handled different.
“They need to be nurtured different. They just need different steps as they go. They end up in the same place, the United States Marines.”
A staple insult/motivator used by military training instructors is to shout at recruits: “I’m not your momma!”
They can’t say that anymore, if they’re fretting over how they “nurture” the next generation of combat Marines.
Military boot camp and combat training are very well thought-out means to determine whether a civilian can be transformed into a warrior. The yelling, the inane tasks, the unpredictability, the uniformity and orders and all of it have been honed over time to build the United States military into the most effective fighting force the world has ever seen.
But thanks to politics, we may throw all that away.
The Pentagon is doing its best to deal with bad politics. We have a generation of politicians in power, most of whom never served and many of whom actively dislike the US military. Until that changes, and it may never change, the Pentagon will go on having to make the best of what is a bad situation.