- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo is criticizing U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s decision to open combat positions to women, saying the Pentagon leader and President Barack Obama ignored Marine Corps recommendations to keep those jobs closed to women.

The Biloxi Republican, a former Marine, sent a letter to Carter and attacked the decision Thursday as “unbelievably dangerous” in a speech on the House floor. That speech mainly criticized Obama’s anti-terrorism policy.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1QjxRQA) that in his letter, Palazzo questions the motivation of civilian military leaders and accuses them of making decisions based on political reasons instead of military safety.

He wrote that it “raises serious questions about … what appears to be blatant disregard for the safety of the men and women who serve in our armed forces.

“While many of us agree that there are roles that women can and will perform just as well as any man, there are many military occupational specialties that must for the safety of all, remain closed to females.”

The congressman urged Carter to reverse the decision.

In the letter, Palazzo pointed to a U.S. Marine Corps study on integrating ground combat units done by the University of Pittsburgh that he said shows combat units with men and women failed to perform assigned tasks and were more injury-prone.

“Although the Department of Defense refused to release the full study results to the public or Congress, despite our requests, these independent studies showed beyond doubt that pushing forward on integration at this time, is not only ill-advised, it is dangerous,” Palazzo wrote.

Palazzo wrote to Carter in September seeking Marine Corps reports on integrating women into combat roles.

He said that in order to maintain its “unique tactical capabilities and prowess, the Marine Corps must never lower or compromise its standards,” and that combat roles must remain closed to women to maintain those capabilities.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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