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[Rosemary Mariner, guest-blogging, December 22, 2007 at 12:02am] Trackbacks
The Americanization of the Armed Forces-Recap of Prof. Browne's Arguments:

In his book, Prof. Browne recommends 1) reinstating a "risk rule" excluding women from combat positions and from positions presenting a substantial risk of combat or capture, 2)reinstating the exclusion of women from combat aviation, 3)barring women from warships, and 4) considering closing additional support positions.

He does not specify whether these exclusions should be policy or statue. He offers no estimate of how many men it would take to replace these women.

The basic rationale for this discrimination is 1) the vast majority of women can't fight because of intrinsic physical and psychological sex differences, 2) women are less deployable than men, 3)women impede cohesion, 4) women impede men's combat motivation, and 5) the presence of women inhibits men from fighting as well because they don't trust them.

While acknowledging that there are individual women who are strong and fit enough for combat, he contends they are too few to justify inclusion and their very presence is disruptive to men.

He offers no positive example of a military woman. If women are doing well, it is because they are getting special treatment and political correctness. If they do poorly, it is because they are women.

Asserting that war is a manly thing, he concludes that gender integration reduces military effectiveness.

In his book, the primary evidence for these assertions is 1) negative anecdotes from unnamed individuals, 2)selective citation to various studies, and 3)pubished and unpublished work in the theoretical field of evolutionary psychology.

He starts off with the following juxtaposition: military effectiveness versus sexual integration. As if this were a zero-sum equation and the two genders are akin to matter and anti-matter. This is a Rambo vs. Private Benjamin straw man.

His interlocutors are dismissed as seldom acknowledging that there is a trade-off between the two, --as if this was the only possible conclusion.

The idea that the inclusion of women might enhance military readiness, or their removal damage it, is never considered.

Arguments versus Evidence.

1) Women can't fight due to intrinsic physical and psychological differences. As discussed earlier, the premise that women can't fight well--with or without men--is counterfactual. The empirical evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. The Soviet example is the largest case, under conditions that are as "real" combat as it gets.

Deborah and Judith in the Bible; Artemisia, Queen Boudicca, and Joan of Arc are just some of the better known individual examples. Modern examples of irregular warfare include China, Yugoslavia during WW II, the Israeli War of Independence, and Vietnam. Current examples include female suicide bombers in the Middle East.

Israeli women were barred from combat positions until 1997, when combat aviation was opened. In 2000 the Knesset opened all branches and services of the IDF to women. In 2007 an internal IDF commission reportedly recommended opening all infantry, armored corps, and special forces positions to women.

In Canada, women have served in combat aviation and the infantry since 1989.

Whatever average sex differences may exist, they have not stopped large numbers of women from fighting and killing.

2) Women are less deployable than men, for reasons including pregnancy. Pregnancy is a clear difference between the sexes. Unplanned losses can be a problem with junior enlisted women, although whether it is problematic varies greatly by command. The most recent published data that I could find was a Navy study dated 1999. It indicates that pregnancies for CY97 made up 6% of total unplanned losses of women assigned to ships; however the rate was 2.5% higher for women then men. In commands with senior female enlisted leadership, the rate was significantly lower. However, personnel lost from ships because of pregnancy were more likely than other losses to stay in the Navy and return to a ship.

Colonel Martha McSally, USAF, an A-10 pilot and former combat squadron commander, offers her views on pregnancy and paternalistic policies in the current issue of the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy. Prof. Browne has an article in the same issue.

3) The presence of women impedes group cohesion for men. As discussed earlier, the published research suggests just the opposite; the presence of women does not affect cohesion.

Prof. Browne attempts to dismiss this research by claiming analysts are motivated by gender equality and not military effectiveness. The policy analysis literature clearly focuses on readiness.

We live in a gender integrated nation where men and women not only compliment one another, they perform extraordinarily well in life and death professions, like medicine. Mixed gender warships and aviation squadrons operating under dangerous conditions have received numerous awards. Why would the combat arms be any less professional?

4) Women impede the combat motivation of men. Much of this discussion focuses on men wanting to "prove themselves in battle" and be recognized as courageous. I don't dispute this as a powerful motivator for some men, just as it is for some women.

Here Prof. Browne makes a bold assertion that men are more courageous than women. The evidence he cites mainly comes from psychometrics. Again, this field is about individual differences and rejects group membership as a substitute for estimating psychological attributes. Other evidence he cites is a certain commission which gave more men then women awards for valor, --as if this might not say more about the commission than anything to do with biology.

This not only ignores the empirical evidence of women across the ages who have demonstrated acts of courage (most recently the female security guard that shot a crazed gunman in Colorado), but it categorizes a human trait as masculine.

One example Prof. Browne cites is the refusal of a group of Army Reservists to drive in a fuel convoy. He speculates that since women were not part of the group, men were less likely to be shamed by their behavior. Regular officers might have focused first on the group's identity as Reservists.

In military culture, the desire to be recognized and respected by one's peers is an overwhelming force for both men and women.

5) Men don't trust women in combat. It is clear there are men who haven't been in combat with women, who don't trust them. There are also combat veterans who feel the opposite way or just want the best qualified person.

Again, I make the point about individuals. There are men who don't trust other men, not because of gender, but as individuals. The same applies to women. Trust has to be earned.

I go back to the empirical case. In WW II, Soviet men fought with, and in some cases, under the command of women. Today, men and women are doing an outstanding job together in combat aviation and aboard warships.

Impact on Military Effectiveness

Prof. Browne claims his goal is military effectiveness. However, if implemented, his recommendations would do nothing but harm combat readiness. They would undue over 13 years of gender-neutral policies in combat aviation, combat support, and aboard warships. Depending on what support positions were identified, positions that women have filled successfully for 35 years could be closed.

There is nothing reasonable about these proposals.

The number of men that would have to replace women is unclear. In Iraq alone some 11% of Army personnel are female. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps women would be sent home. At a minimum, tens of thousands of women, ranking from E-1 to O-8, would have to be replaced. The perturbations caused by a mass removal or reshuffling of experienced service members, including senior enlisted and general officers, would cause major personnel shortages and confusion.

How many men stateside would have to return to Iraq or Afghanistan if female combat support personnel were redeployed? Morale across the services would be severely damaged by removing women who want to serve, while men were forced to take extra tours in Iraq.

The Army, having already lowered its recruiting standards, is attempting to add 74,000 soldiers over the next 5 years to meet its higher authorized end strength. If the number of positions opened to women were harshly curtailed, thus shrinking the pool of available candidates even further, where would these men come from?

Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Might I suggest shorter posts focusing one one issue? Purely because these are interesting issues, on which you have experience, that deserve to be explored in some depth.

As to the first, I have known women that I would trust to have my back, come hell or high water. I might worry about their ability to drag my carcass any great distance, but not that they would die doing it.
12.22.2007 12:22am
Rob Perelli-Minetti (mail):
Commentators have consistently raised the question of how many women actually want to be assigned to close combat/elite combat units. Captain Mariner has not addressed this question at all. Those numbers and the composition of those numbers (officer, enlisted, service, etc.) are important. If you're talking tens or hundreds of thousands of women actively seeking (and willing to participate without gender norming), it is a very different thing than if there are only a few dozen or a few hundred. While one might make exceptions to a general policy for exceptional individuals where numbers are small, you cannot do so if the numbers are large. However, to change a policy generally to accommodate a few exceptional individuals is very likely not worth the cost and potential risk.
12.22.2007 12:59am
Dr. Scott (mail):
If you read Judges 4, you will see that Deborah did not fight or command. Barak was in command, and the men of Israel did the fighting. "Ten thousand men followed him, and Deborah also went with him." No doubt this is a minor error, but it does not inspire confidence in your handing of other sources.
12.22.2007 1:17am
zooba:
Dr. Scott: I fail to see how your quote did anything to prove what you said.
12.22.2007 3:10am
Mike Keenan:

Current examples include female suicide bombers in the Middle East.

I don't think that helps your argument.
12.22.2007 6:40am
DrObviouSo (mail):
Hmm... This seems like a very weak post. All generalities, no meat. I felt like when I read Browne's posts, I was getting facts, and could judge them on their merits. With this posts... not so much.
12.22.2007 7:36am
John (mail):
I think this is getting fuzzy. If strength and stamina are required for a job, and the overwhelming number of women don't have the strength and stamina to do it, then I'm not troubled by a rule that excludes them; nor am I troubled by the fact that a few might have the strength and stamina but are excluded by the rule, on the assumption that it is too much of a pain to accommodate those few.

However, what military jobs fit that bill? It doesn't help to generalize here about women who are in the military, or to point to situations of desperation where a nation had no choice.
12.22.2007 7:54am
HBowmanMD:
And still, Professor Mariner refuses to acknowledge the difference between ground combat in the face of the enemy, and a military job such as hers as an A4 scooter pilot.

And with a brother in law who is a field grade officer in the Canadian (Land) forces, what a normal country would call their army, I have perhaps an inside viewpoint - but what has Canada fought in and won, lately? How many Canadian women were at Dieppe or Juno? And when a wheel or track needs replacing on a Canadian vehicle, how many women are there doing it vs the same job with men?

While there may be a very few women who can lead in battle (and in nearly 2000 years, Professor Mariner can find five or six examples) combat is not won by individuals but by groups. Unit cohesiveness is important, yet she discounts it. The Israeli experience of returning women to fighter cockpits is not a refutation of their decision to not allow women in ground combat, it's a reinforcement of it.

Perhaps women should be allowed to fly fighters, serve as MP's, and perform other types of combat support operations. However, specious arguments and examples (the only kind that Professor Mariner can field) don't address the actual issues.

If women want to be treated equally and serve equally, fine: Women should have to pass the same position appropriate physical fitness tests as men (no gender norming), and should be required (if they want to volunteer) to have long-term birth control (norplant) to prevent unplanned pregnancies that result in 20% of a ships company being returned from a combat zone. That would be the first two steps towards the equality (over practicality) that professor Mariner seems to want.

I was on active duty (USAF, F4 Pilot) when the first big breakout of career fields for women happened, and I saw the accommodation to political correctness that allowed unqualified women to serve above their abilities (e.g., a 4'11", maybe 100# female firefighter? She was unable to lift pilots out of a cockpit during drills, how the hell was she going to do it during a crash rescue?). Later in my career in (retired as a LtCol, always in the line) I saw more political correctness risking the Republic.

The military isn't a feel-good social program for anyone. We don't allow (yet, thank God) profoundly mentally or physically disabled to serve, the safety of the Republic is too important. Putting anyone who is less qualified and capable (for whatever reasons, including those that are unfair) in positions that our safety is compromised is not a good social policy...it is a suicide pact.
12.22.2007 8:39am
occidental tourist (mail):
zooba,

I would agree that Dr. Scott's quote is not, per se, definitive. But it is indicative, because he more fairly reports the context of the entire biblical story in which Deborah plays the half Merlin, half Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher character. The case for a female president or prime minister is metaphorically supported, but not the female warrior.

The story of who participated in the battle reads from this sentence a few verses later -- "Then Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day on which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. The LORD is indeed going out before you." So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand warriors following him." Deborah went up Mount Tabor with him on the campaign to their encampment -- that is what Dr. Scott's reference details -- but there is no indication she came down Mt. Tabor for the fighting.

What any of that means to this contemporary discussion is certainly remote, but I tend to agree with Dr. Scott that the citation to Deborah is spurious. Certainly this is a minor scholarly error resulting from a less than thoroughgoing review of a popularly conceived jewish female leader in war. Nonetheless, looking to the Bible for authority, even in a throwaway quip, is inevitably meant to suggest that one's arguments rest on wisdom of the ages. Thus it is relevant to point out such errors.

Caveat, the role of Jael in Deborah's story suggests that the female assassin, CIA operative or irregular has biblical authority. I certainly think this coordinates with all of Rosemary's citation to contemporary women fighters as "irregulars". There seems to be some historical precedent for the sense that women fight in this way when called upon, but return to traditional roles when guerrilla campaigns are concluded.

This is a culturally based argument that doesn't provide an intellectual bar to woman in the regular military. But, it does seem to me that, for many -- although I do not mean to indict Rosemary -- championing or defending women's role in combat is a cultural and not a military exercise.

I suspect, but have not reviewed the evidence, that this is on display in the contemporary Israeli decision in this regard as well. While Israeli society has a serious incentive to get defense decisions right, it seems by no means immune to the cultural and political currents that roil the United States.

Brian
12.22.2007 8:43am
Drill SGT (mail):
Again the author mushes a critique of Browne, who many of us grizzled combat unit vets think went to far, with OUR opinion that the integration of women into direct ground combat units was a political exercise that would hurt not help overall military effectivess.

Most of us (I'm married to a female Colonel) don't see an issue with women in Many roles. We draw the line at All roles.

I was surprised to learn today that the Canadian Army has tried integrating women into the infantry for the past 18 years.

Captain, how's that going? well? If it was, I would expect to here about it from you.

from my googling I learned that:

1 Canadian female rates were triple men's, driven by even higher numbers in non-traditional fields. very cost effective it seems:


However, a high percentage of female soldiers drop out each year, making it difficult for the Canadian Forces to achieve their new goal. A report showed that between 1989-1996, 32.1 percent of women dropped out of the army, both voluntarily and involuntarily, compared to only 11.9 percent for men.


2. I expect the PC Canadians have bent their standards. The from a force of 65000, of which 6800 are women. 6 are infantry. In one mixed platoon.
from a 2002 article, 13 years after the policy took effect.

In comparison to peacetime, the number of women who would voluntarily serve in ground combat units is low. For example, Canada, a nation with an armed force of about 65,000, currently has six women infantry soldiers.

Very cost effective policy!

why not discuss the Canadian success?
12.22.2007 8:51am
Janus (mail):
First, my standard disclosure/disclaimer: my perspective -- career Air Force, pilot, male. Ground combat is the ultimate determinant of success in many conflict scenarios -- I have no experience with ground combat and can't address hygiene, morale, cohesion, etc in regard to gender integration of ground combat forces. That leaves the realm of air combat to which my comments apply.

I totally agree with Captain Mariner's original central thesis -- that military effectiveness is enhanced by the inclusion of the best qualified individuals in a gender integrated force, including combat roles.

But I strongly disagree with one essential piece of logic in this post. She disparages Browne's position on "military effectiveness versus sexual integration. As if this were a zero-sum equation and the two genders are akin to matter and anti-matter. This is a Rambo vs. Private Benjamin straw man."

In fact, gender IS the fundamental human dichotomy that inescapably affects every military member. And from the macro perspective in a shrinking Air Force, is is absolutely a zero-sum game to the extent that the service makes personnel and policy decisions based on gender.

For years the Air Force has pursued a policy of affirmation, opportunity, and advancement for females. It was due in some small part to the "Schroederization" effect and yielding to PC activist politics, but mostly it was pure pursuit of institutional self-interest. Half of the talent and intellect in the American citizenry resides in females, and the Air Force wanted to tap that resource.

Problem is, whether by nature or nurture or organizational barriers or whatever, females don't yet flock to Air Force service as readily as males, who seem to be more attracted to loud machines that go fast and kill people on behalf of the nation. To accomplish the objective of attracting a richer mix of female talent into the force, the playing field has been tilted. In general as a group, females will go further career-wise with less "heavy lifting" in professional terms. You can check the public-acccess bio's of Air Force general officers on the internet and see that the first wave of female flag officers from the USAF Academy typically had plenty of "special assistant" opportunities on the Air Staff, where personal patronage of the brass boosts them up the ladder without having to run the gauntlet of operational rigors at the flight, squadron, group, and wing level. Conversely, look at the bio's of their male counterparts -- they show a clear contrasting pattern of "shared sacrifice" in remote tours and sequential assignments to deployment-rich operational units.

Another example -- the current Thunderbird team is 33% female, while the Air Force fighter force is less than 4% female. Not a coincidence. Females are put into the glamourous, highly-visible, career-building opportunities in a disproportionate rate because it serves the interests of the Air Force to attract talented, motivated females to the service. The female Thunderbird pilots are outstanding officers and excellent pilots. But their selection was derived from their gender. They meet the threshold of competence (and for the Thunderbirds, that threshold is exceedingly high), so they advance. Females advance if they are FULLY QUALIFIED to meet standards. Males are selected for the good deals and rapid advancement only if they are the BEST in comparison to the other males in contention.

That is the crux of the tough sociological question of gender integration as it relates to the Air Force. Can a two-track system preferential consideration for one gender accomplish the goal of attracting talented females without alienating talented males.

That is the experiment in progress.
12.22.2007 9:09am
MarkField (mail):
I agree with every one of your criticisms of Browne. His posts were, IMO, worthless and even offensive in most respects. All that said, though, Browne's inadequacies don't help us decide the issue. This isn't a moot court where we're judging the quality of presentation. You need to give us better hard data. As several others have suggested, this post is much too general.
12.22.2007 10:33am
Ken Arromdee:
Some female suicide bombers (and perhaps even most) are just a variation on honor killings: Instead of just shooting the woman, force her to go out and take a couple of Americans or Israelis with her too. Needless to say, for a woman to die in this way doesn't demonstrate military prowess or courage, just inability to avoid being killed by relatives.
12.22.2007 11:00am
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
The claims in this post were meatier and more relevant than some of the past ones, but, as others have noted, they lack any sort of statistical backing that we can latch on to.

I'm also bothered by the constant refrain that "this field [psychometrics] is about individual differences and rejects group membership as a substitute for estimating psychological attributes."

What exactly does this mean?

Is group evaluation rejected because it is utterly useless? Because it is useful but politically incorrect? Because it is useful but "unjust"? Because individual differences are really easy to screen for, and group screening would be actually inefficient?

Throughout your posts you have stressed the "heart factor". You never know if the little guy might turn out to be the best soldier. But unless you are arguing that heart (which you are implicitly claiming is not individually measurable in advance) is equally distributed across groups, then group selection will be valuable. Professor Browne never rejected your "heart factor" argument, in fact he accepts it several times himself. But he also makes a claim that this factor is distributed in somewhat predictable percentages across different groups.

One must either accept that unknowables are distributed in predictable patterns, or reject it. But if you accept that unknowables are predictably distributed and still argue that it is irrelevant, you are making a fairness argument, not an efficiency argument.
12.22.2007 11:21am
Richard Nieporent (mail):
Rosemary, is this the model for the military that you would like the US to emulate? :)
12.22.2007 4:12pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Captain Roesmary, et al.
RE: Here! Here!

"Might I suggest shorter posts focusing one one issue? Purely because these are interesting issues, on which you have experience, that deserve to be explored in some depth." -- Dave Hardy

Otherwise, when I'm through with this fisking of her comments, it'll take up twice as much as she has.

But that is the nature of women, eh? Throwing a whole mis-mash together as an 'argument'. Seems that the good Captain has issues with what most rational people would refer to as 'normalization of data'.

I'm chewing on her 'arguments' now. I'll have fiskings later. And, based on your suggestion, they'll be normalized/parsed for easier 'digestion'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Data/Spock 2008: The Logical Choice!]
12.22.2007 4:14pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Janus
RE: Interesting Perspective

"The female Thunderbird pilots are outstanding officers and excellent pilots. But their selection was derived from their gender. They meet the threshold of competence (and for the Thunderbirds, that threshold is exceedingly high), so they advance. Females advance if they are FULLY QUALIFIED to meet standards. Males are selected for the good deals and rapid advancement only if they are the BEST in comparison to the other males in contention."-- Janus

It seems to corroborate an impression I've had for some time. However, as you admitted to not having as firm a grasp of life in the infantry, I don't have that much of a grasp with life amongst the 'fast movers'.

The point here, touches on what I've asked in previous threads on this issue....

I'm certain that the Air Force and the Navy keep statistics on air missions. And I'm wondering why it is that the good Captain has not trotted out such statistics to support her claims of female equivalence.

If the data reflected women were just as good as men in these positions, would we not be seeing it?

And if they are not....why haven't we seen that reported?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I'm wondering what the experience of the law enforcement community might teach us in terms of 'mortal combat' vis-a-vis women in such roles.

What are the statistics?

It's interesting, either of my own predilections or of what is reported in the news, that in terms of law enforcement using lethal weapons, I hear more of women cops making fatal mistakes, or not-so-fatal, than I hear of male.

Case in point, one officer of the Denver PD related to me a report of how a cop-chick, trying to defend her male partner from an attack-dog attack, shot her partner instead of the dog.

Then there's the case of the cop-chick who thought she was pulling her taser, but instead pulled her service piece and drilled the obnoxious but cuffed-perp in the back of her cruiser in the chest....killing him instantly.
12.22.2007 4:26pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Then there's the case of the wannabe cop-chick in Aurora, CO, who, in a training class, succeeded in shooting a fellow classmate with her training piece.

Killed him....she did....OH! It was an 'accident'!!!!

Having served in the infantry for 27 years. I don't recall hearing of many cases of people being shot on the firing line of weapons training ranges in the Army. And I think we, in the Army, shoot more rounds than all the combined police forces in the US do.

I wonder why. Is there some dark conspiracy that suppresses such incidents?
12.22.2007 4:29pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
Chuck- I have to say, the phrase, "wannabe cop-chick", does not make the rest of your arguments sound balanced. And so, here you go-
http://www.policeone.com/training/articles/1036087/

The Associated Press

KENNESAW, Ga.- The Kennesaw police chief has resigned from the advisory board of an academy where one of his recruits was accidentally killed and says his department will no longer send police recruits there for training.

Kennesaw Police Chief Tim Callahan said his decision is a response to how the North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy handled the shooting death of Tara Drummond, a recruit with the police department.

Callahan said he specifically did not like the way academy director Dr. Carole Morgan handled the situation.

"I was extremely dissatisfied with the lack of responsibility and accountability that Dr. Morgan exhibited during the Drummond incident," he said.

Drummond, 23, was accidentally shot to death during firearms training last September by her instructor, Cobb County Sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Albert Jackson. Jackson had placed what he thought were "dummy rounds" in his gun and pointed it at Drummond. But a round went off, hitting Drummond in the chest.


And one need hardly look very hard to find other incidents of "friendly fire" caused by men, both in the police and in the military. You have fallen into a common error, thinking that the plural of "anecdote" is "data". It isn't.
12.22.2007 5:58pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
1) Women can't fight due to intrinsic physical and psychological differences. As discussed earlier, the premise that women can't fight well--with or without men--is counterfactual. The empirical evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. The Soviet example is the largest case, under conditions that are as "real" combat as it gets.

Why the conflation of "unable to fight" and "unable to fight well"? And why the all-or-nothing "women" instead of "some women"?

I think very few people would claim that all women cannot fight. I think that many people would agree that some women can fight well. But the statement above seems to be trying to force the options to be "All women can fight well" and "No woman can fight."
12.22.2007 6:24pm
Tern (mail):

In Canada, women have served in combat aviation and the infantry since 1989.


Right...and how's that working out for the Canadians in combat?
12.22.2007 6:51pm
William Oliver (mail) (www):
"The most recent published data that I could find was a Navy study dated 1999. It indicates that pregnancies for CY97 made up 6% of total unplanned losses of women assigned to ships; however the rate was 2.5% higher for women then men."

Captain Mariner may not actually be reading these comments. The link I posted addressing this issue provides 2007 data at 11% loss due to pregnancy, not 6%, and the trend is up, not down.
12.22.2007 7:06pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
2) Women are less deployable than men, for reasons including pregnancy. Pregnancy is a clear difference between the sexes. Unplanned losses can be a problem with junior enlisted women, although whether it is problematic varies greatly by command. The most recent published data that I could find was a Navy study dated 1999. It indicates that pregnancies for CY97 made up 6% of total unplanned losses of women assigned to ships; however the rate was 2.5% higher for women then men. In commands with senior female enlisted leadership, the rate was significantly lower. However, personnel lost from ships because of pregnancy were more likely than other losses to stay in the Navy and return to a ship.

Hmmm ...

* ... pregnancies for CY97 made up 6% of total unplanned losses of women assigned to ships ... This seems very low in the face of claims that some ships had loss rates of up to 20 percent. Are some women assigned to ships that have environments that would make pregnancies unlikely? Are the statistics biased by (for example) a gap of months between announcement of pregnancy and removal from ship, converting "unplanned" losses to "planned" losses? What were the causes of the other 94 percent of unplanned losses?

* ... however the rate was 2.5% higher for women then men. What does this mean? (Surely not that the rate of men's losses due to unplanned pregnancy was 97.5 percent that of women's losses!) If the statistic refers to total losses, what were the causes? Might men have been far more likely than women to suffer casualties because of the nature of the tasks they performed? I suspect some statistical slight-of-hand here, possibly due to a switch from relative numbers to absolute numbers halfway through the comparison somewhere.

* However, personnel lost from ships because of pregnancy were more likely than other losses to stay in the Navy and return to a ship. Is this necessarily a Good Thing? By the time a woman returned to her ship, her previous assignment would almost certainly have been filled by someone else. So then what?

* Women are less deployable than men, for reasons including pregnancy. But pregnancy is the only such reason examined here. I am reminded of Newt Gingrich's much-criticized comment:
"If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they get infections and they don't have upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they're relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets, you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn't matter, you know. These things are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an Aegis-class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets, a female may be again dramatically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time because males are biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes."
-- Newt Gingrich, "Renewing American Civilization," Reinhardt College, January 7, 1995
Most of the criticisms focussed on the word "giraffes" without examining the rest of his statement. Other critics seemed to think Newt was talking about menstruation when he mentioned "thirty days." As someone married to an intelligent, capable woman who gets bladder infections at the drop of a hat, I assure you he wasn't.

I don't think I know any woman who would be a good infantryman. That doesn't mean that no such women exist, but it just might mean that a deliberate effort to include women in that particular combat role might have more negative consequences than positive ones for the unit or the armed forces as a whole.
12.22.2007 7:06pm
Bart (mail):
In Canada, women have served in combat aviation and the infantry since 1989.

It is difficult to determine how women have affected the performance of Canadian Forces units.

Canadian infantry was amongst the finest in the world during WWII. The portrayal of the elite Canadians and the US Army rejects in the movie "Devil's Brigade" was not too far off the mark.

In stark contrast, the performance of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan has been mediocre at best.

Because the Canadians have seriously damaged the combat effectiveness and durability of their forces through a series of questionable "reforms" in recent years, it is not possible to blame the integration of women into the Forces as the reason for their performance in Afghanistan. However, this substandard performance also does nothing to recommend the "reform" of adding women to combat units.
12.22.2007 7:10pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Owen Hutchins
RE: Fair? Or Balance? Or Both? Or Neither?

"Chuck- I have to say, the phrase, "wannabe cop-chick", does not make the rest of your arguments sound balanced." -- Owen Hutchins

Reality bites, at times, Owen.

The cop-chick didn't quite make the 'grade' to become an officer of law-enforcment, last I had heard of the matter.

Something about being 'incompetent' with a firearm...it would seem.

Whether or not you accept facts, whether they are politically-correct in their presentation or not, is another matter.

Hope that helps. But I have my doubts.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Don't confuse me with facts. My mind is made up. -- Owen, or so it would seem.]

P.S. They removed the term 'gentleman' from my commission.

One can only guess (1) why and (2) what impact it had.....

Personally...I don't care.
12.22.2007 7:33pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Bart
RE: Indeed

"Canadian infantry was amongst the finest in the world during WWII. The portrayal of the elite Canadians and the US Army rejects in the movie "Devil's Brigade" was not too far off the mark." -- Bart

Did some stuff with the Boys in Helena, i.e., the Montana State Area Command (STAR).

They're rather proud of that episode in their military history.

And, yes. Back then the Canadian infantry were something to be proud of. However, based on recent events, I get the impression things have gone far away from what had been back then.

In the meantime, US infantry are still as 'interesting' as they had been back then.

What made the difference?

To much politeness, perhaps?

War is never 'polite'. At least not these days. Not with suicide bombers killing hundreds of innocent women and children. Or people like Pol Pot slaughtering them by the thousands.

But then again, considering the Mongol invasion of Arabia....it never has been polite.

Hope the helps.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[War is all hell. -- General William T. Sherman]

P.S. Hey. r78....am I 'strutting' here? Or just talking 'truth'?
12.22.2007 7:43pm
Bart (mail):
The effectiveness of women in combat would not be hard to measure. Form an all female light infantry battalion which has to meet the same standards as the men and test it against an all male battalion in the NTC over two weeks of high intensity combat.

This experiment should be conducted with light infantry because the ground pounder is the basic element of combat arms. It is the infantry which takes and holds the ground. All other branches support the infantry.

This experiment should have gender segregated units so the results are not skewed by the men in an integrated units carrying the physical slack for the women. The women are on their own.

The members of the female battalion all need to be volunteers. Draftees will not give their full effort.

The entire pool of females in the active and reserve Army need to be eligible to volunteer to even have a chance of finding enough qualified volunteers.

Every female volunteer will have to meet the unofficial standards for male infantry - which is the 70th percentile of the male PT test. I would guess that there is about a 60% chance the experiment would end here when the Army would not be able to find 567 female volunteers to fill the battalion TO&E.

If there are sufficient personnel to form the battalion, then the enlisted need to go through the infantry advanced course and the officers infantry basic along with half passing Ranger School. I would guess that there is about a 95% chance the experiment would end here when the Army would not be able to find 567 female volunteers who can meet these standards.

If enough can pass school to form a battalion, the unit should have a year to train as a unit with the best facilities the Army has to offer. One year was enough for a new infantry division in WWII before they were sent into combat.

Choose a male regular army light infantry battalion whose readiness scores are midrange among all similar battalions to be the OPFOR against the female battalion. We do not want to be accused of stacking the deck by sending in an Airborne battalion such as the one in which I served or the regular OPFOR at Ft Irwin, who know the terrain like the back of their hands.

Over two weeks at the NTC, run both battalions through all standard combat operations, reserving the last three days to improvise against one another. All firearms will use MILES laser scoring. However, full hand to hand combat is authorized allowing umpires to halt it to prevent serious bodily injury.

If the female battalion ties or prevails, then we should experiment with integration.

If there are not enough women in the entire Army to form a female battalion trained to standards or the female battalion is defeated by the male battalion,, this idea should be sh_t canned with no further ado.
12.22.2007 7:46pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Bart
RE: An Interesting Idea

"The effectiveness of women in combat would not be hard to measure. Form an all female light infantry battalion which has to meet the same standards as the men and test it against an all male battalion in the NTC over two weeks of high intensity combat." -- Bart

However, where is the 'mortal combat' factor? Or is it negated by the fact that neither side is expected to DIP; either Defend In Place [official term for the mission] or Die In Place, depending on whether or not you were the infantry expected to do the deed.

RE: Integration, Anyone?

"If the female battalion ties or prevails, then we should experiment with integration." -- Bart

I suggest that without the 'mortal combat' factor, we wouldn't know how real men behave around REALLY wounded real women.

Maybe we should form the sorts of battalions you suggest and throw them into Tikrit!

Hopefully, you'd be willing to bet your life on this sort of 'gambit'.

Otherwise, what should we think of your 'commitment' to this idea.

And, just for 's---s and grins', let's make Captain Rosemary your battalion commander. Eh?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Give her an M1911A1 and let her lead from the front.]
12.22.2007 7:53pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. I hope 'No Slack' Stack can see this.

He'll be rolling on the floor, laughing.

Merry Christmas, Colonel. Hope all is well with you....
12.22.2007 8:41pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

Chuck(le)
[Don't confuse me with facts. My mind is made up. -- Owen, or so it would seem.]



Since you didn't actually respond to a single thing I wrote, I think you are confused as to who is ignoring the facts.
12.22.2007 8:46pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Owen Hutchins
RE: Actually...

"Since you didn't actually respond to a single thing I wrote, I think you are confused as to who is ignoring the facts." -- Owen

....I did.

You just don't seem the have the synapse necessary to perceive it.

Later,

Chuck(le)
[I can't help it if you don't understand English, well enough.]
12.22.2007 8:57pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Are you a product of the current American Public Education system?
12.22.2007 9:16pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
Oh, wow, I guess I got told. How can I possibly respond to such witty repartee and eloquence?
12.22.2007 10:53pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
In her various posts, the captain ignores the eight-hundred pound gorilla:
Standards will always be gender-normed.
Infantry combat is not gender-normed.

She ignores it so assiduously that one pictures her feeling it looking over her shoulder as she writes.
12.22.2007 11:47pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

Standards will always be gender-normed.
Infantry combat is not gender-normed.



The fitness standards are already age-normed.
12.23.2007 8:56am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Owen, the age norming has nothing to do with being in ground combat. That is the standard for people who have been in the military for a long time and there is an investment in their skills and knowlege. Yes, some new people join at older ages who benefit from this rule, but that's its purpose.

Do not confuse fitness standards with the real requirements of ground combat. There is no test for such a standard.
12.23.2007 4:41pm
CheckEnclosed (mail):
In the past,when the military resisted the integration of certain groups of soldiers, the answer was to create segregated groups, such as the 762nd tank destroyer batallion and the 442nd regimental combat team. Which tended to over-perform.

IF miltary exigencies are enough to overcome equal protection challenges to excluding women from combat (or subjecting only men to being drafted into combat units), then shouldn't they suffice to allow creation of all female units (either de jure or de facto)? That would get around the whole cohesion issue. Then, when some all-female (or nearly so) units excelled, resistance to the inclusion of women in general would be decreased.

The same thing might happen with largely gay units.
12.23.2007 4:48pm
Anthony Mirvish (mail):
Van Creveld addressed at length all of the historical examples of women in combat including Boudicca, Joan of Arc, the Soviets and all the others. Boudicca is interesting because, although she didn't actually fight personally she did lead her people to an utter defeat at the hands of the Romans. Incidentally, in her Roman opponent's pre-battle speech, he referred contemptuously to his enemies as savages "led by a woman" and reminded his men that after they'd won they'd have everything: plunder, women and slaves.

The IDF has actually been expanding combat roles for women based largely on court decisions and the same sort of "we're not fully equal citizens until we can serve" arguments that Ms. Mariner makes. Based on a series of e-mail exchanges with Professor van Creveld, I can report that the Israeli experience is less than positive and many men object. An article in the same Duke University Journal Ms. Mariner mentioned had published one by Martha McSally, discussed the Israeli experience in terms of male acceptance of the women and so forth. While not comprehensively negative, it presented a far more complex situation than Ms. Mariner asserts (and it was by a woman generally sympathetic to the goal of women in combat).
12.23.2007 11:03pm