- The Washington Times - Friday, January 8, 2016

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has sent scolding memorandum to the Marine Corps, warning commanders that problems with integrating women into the infantry should not be used as an excuse to “halt the policy.”

Mr. Mabus is also ordering the Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, to remove the word “man” from titles, apparently meaning the job title of “infantryman” is a casualty.

Mr. Mabus, a former Democratic governor of Mississippi, has followed the Obama’s administration’s priorities in other ares. He has named war ships after liberal politicians, push climate change initiatives and followed the first lady’s lead on nutrition by limiting fried foods for sailors.

In this case, his Jan. 1 memos are carrying out Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s Dec. 3 decision to open all ground combat jobs to women in infantry, armor, special operations and artillery.

The Marine Corps, then led by Gen. Joseph Dunford, stood alone among the four branches in recommending an exemption for infantry units. It did a three-year assessment that warned of damage to unit cohesion, more injuries and increased risks for casualties in battle.

Mr. Mabus openly dismissed the Corps’ publicized opposition last fall. Mr. Carter sided with him and rejected advice from Gen. Dunford who by that time had become his chief military adviser as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

The Navy secretary, who is also the Corps’ civilian boss, took note of Marine objections in his Jan. 1 memos––and again promptly rejected them.

“I expect that as the Marine Corps monitors the indicators listed in the integration plan, the Marine Corps will use its observations and data collected to measure progress, inform education programs and equip leadership at every level with the information needed to best facilitate this force integration, rather than as a justification to hinder or halt this policy,” he said.

“Similarly, as the Marine Corps adds elements such as the leadership plan that includes goals of female leadership teams, cohesive cohorts and mentors, I expect you will ensure that a worthwhile goal does not unreasonably delay or prevent the execution of a policy imperative.”

Mr. Mabus also wants all job titles cleansed of “man” and made gender-neutral.

“This is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions themselves to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs [military occupational specialties],” he said. “Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from their titles.”

He sent the same “man” prohibition to the Navy, apparently ending the title of “seaman.”

In addition, he ordered the Corps to end the policy of separating men and women in basic recruit training.

Mr. Mabus said he wants the commandant to send him a report every three months.

Elaine Donnelly, who leads the Center for Military Readiness, called the Mabus memos an “insult.”

“The arrogance reflected in Mabus‘ marching orders, handed down without any plausible rationale and against the best professional advice of the Marine Corps, is an unprecedented insult to the Marines,” she said.

She said the Navy secretary continues to arrogantly dismiss three years of Marine Corps studies that showed a less-effective infantry.

“Secretary Mabus‘ condescending memo reduces the voluminous, definitive results of three years of scientific research to five points in one long run-on sentence,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “Now they are being ordered to implement policies that will make combat missions less survivable and less effective in lethal combat. What could go wrong?”

At 188,000, and about 13,000 women, the Marine Corps is the smallest branch but considers itself a group of elite fighters bound by a long proud history. The slogan “A Few Good Men” is immediately identified as pertaining to the Corps.

It has a number of combat job titles that now will go into the dust bin. They include Rifleman, Reconnaissance Man, Mortarman and Infantry Assaultman, and Antitank Missleman.

 


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