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Commentary

New women-in-combat policy defies common sense

Special To The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 10:41 AM

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The Obama's administration's decision to allow women into ground combat specialties was wrong and, more importantly, made for the wrong reasons.

Our military's mission is to win wars, not provide successful career paths for those lacking the capability for a particular specialty, even if their shortcomings are no fault of their own.

In my 27 years as a Marine officer I have commanded and been commanded by women. I found them just as smart, as patriotic and as professional as their male counterparts. I also observed that 99.5 percent lacked the physical strength to do the routinely rigorous and often brutal training required to be competent in a ground combat MOS (specialty). Every female in uniform has lower gender-normed physical standards than their male counterparts.

The danger in this policy is the "why." If more women in more specialties made a more capable force, military leaders would have been clamoring for this policy change long ago. Instead, this policy is driven by civilians implementing their view of social policy at great cost to those who serve. Non-political military professionals can argue the degree of how the negative effects of this policy will impact the force, but none thinks it strengthens it.

The most likely result of this new policy is the dropping of physical standards and training to allow a politically correct, acceptable percentage of women to qualify for ground combat, career-enhancing "jobs." After the fanfare of this "groundbreaking policy" has faded, training standards will drop to ensure the politically correct amount of women succeed. Promotion boards will have goals (quotas) to ensure selection does not rely on merit alone. The civilian populace will never be aware (if they even care) how our force will be degraded. Our enemies will.

Last March I had occasion to speak with Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps. He was visiting a wounded Marine's house in South Tampa. Out of the blue he mentioned he was under incredible pressure to open ground combat specialties to women. At first I thought he was joking. During the course of the conversation I realized he was serious about the ensuing pressure and was adamantly opposed to this policy.

I plan to urge him to resign in protest.


Steve Emerson of Valrico is a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel.

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