Women in Combat

A senior Defense Department official said the ban on women in combat should be lifted because the military’s goal is “to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field.” I’d like to think the goal of the military should be to have the toughest, meanest fighting force possible. But let’s look at “gender-neutral playing field.”

The Army’s physical fitness test in basic training is a three-event physical performance test used to assess endurance. The minimum requirement for 17- to 21-year-old males is 35 pushups, 47 situps and a two-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds or less. For females of the same age, the minimum requirement is 13 pushups, 47 situps and a 19:42 two-mile run. Why the difference in fitness requirements? “USMC Women in the Service Restrictions Review” found that women, on average, have 20 percent lower aerobic power, 40 percent lower muscle strength, 47 percent less lifting strength and 26 percent slower marching speed than men.

William Gregor, professor of social sciences at the Army’s Command and General Staff College, reports that in tests of aerobic capacity, the records show, only 74 of 8,385 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps women attained the level of the lowest 16 percent of men. The “fight load” — the gear an infantryman carries on patrol — is 35 percent of the average man’s body weight but 50 percent of the average Army woman’s weight. In his examination of physical fitness test results from the ROTC, dating back to 1992, and 74,000 records of male and female commissioned officers, only 2.9 percent of women were able to attain the men’s average pushup ability and time in the two-mile run.

In a January report titled “Defense Department ‘Diversity’ Push for Women in Land Combat” (http://tinyurl.com/axn9l93) Elaine Donnelly, director of the Center for Military Readiness, points to U.S. Army studies showing that women are twice as likely to suffer injuries and are three times more undeployable than men. Women are less likely to be able to march under load — 12.4 miles in five hours with an 83-pound assault load — and to be able to crawl, sprint, negotiate obstacles with that load or move a casualty weighing 165 pounds or more while carrying that load.

Plus, there are muscle-challenging feats, even for men, such as field repairs on an M1A1 Abrams tank.

Then there’s the pregnancy issue, which makes women three to four times as likely as men to be undeployable. And once deployed, they often have to be medically evacuated, leaving units understrength. Finally, there’s another difference between men and women rarely considered in deliberation about whether women should be in combat. All measures of physical aggressiveness show that men, maybe because of testosterone levels 10 times higher, are more aggressive, competitive and hostile than women. Those attributes are desirable for combat.

Here are a couple of what-if questions. Suppose a combat unit is retreating in mountainous terrain in Afghanistan, where a person’s aerobic capacity really makes a difference, and the women in the unit can’t keep up with the men. What would you propose, leaving the women behind to possibly be captured by the Taliban or having the unit slow down so the women can keep up, thereby risking causalities or capture? What if a male soldier is washed out of the Army’s Advanced Infantry Training program because he cannot pass its physical fitness test whereas a female soldier who can’t perform at his level is retained? Should male soldiers be able to bring suit and be awarded damages for sex discrimination? How much respect can a male soldier have for his female counterpart, who is held to lower performance standards?

There’s another issue. The Selective Service System’s website has the following message about draft registration: “Even though the Secretary of Defense has decided to allow women in combat jobs, the law has not been changed to include this. Consequently, only men are currently required to register by law with Selective Service during ages 18 thru 25. Women still do not register.” How can that, coupled with differences in performance standards, possibly be consistent with the Defense Department’s stated agenda “to provide a level, gender-neutral playing field”?

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • harrylies

    Most men in America are like John Wayne in World War Two. He didn't serve. So women have to pick up the slack. Since most men are slackers, women have to serve.

    If putting women in harms' way is wrong, what about men? Double standards.

    • davarino

      Nobody believes your $hit you miserable excuse for a man, if thats what you are. You can take your twisted logic and shove right up your arse.

    • GB101

      The question is not "should women be put in harm's way?" It is "Will allowing women in combat strengthen or weaken our armed forces?"

  • dickymo johnston

    The answer is easy. The unit should slow down to accommodate the slower people. Since God obviously discriminated when it came to assigning physical abilities, the government needs to correct for that. Plus, this will send a clear message to the world that we value our women more than people in Muslim cultures. We need to show we appreciate diversity, including diversity of physical ability. I dream of a world in which institutions do not discriminate against the slow. The government needs to impose a quota of slow people on all athletic teams. Sprinters should be given a numerical handicap to equalize race outcomes. I am proud to be a liberal.

    • davarino

      Thats good, you almost sounded genuine. I know its hard to do that when espousing something that is so totally ridiculous

    • reader

      "Plus, this will send a clear message to the world that we value our women more than people in Muslim cultures."

      How is sending women to combat the same as valuing women, idiot? In muslim cultures they send women on suicide missions with explosives strapped to their bodies.

    • Mary Sue

      No, they're going to think we're idiots and morally depraved for mixing men in with the women in the armed forces.

  • Western Spirit

    As a woman I couldn’t agree more with the dissenters. Growing up as a little tomboy, due to my big brothers taunts, I was always trying to prove him wrong. In this way I came to understand the difference between men and women was immutable and my strength was of another order entirely, but just as real.

    And I don’t mean being pretty as a strength. Being pretty hindered as much as helped because it played into male fears concerning women and added weight to anything said about me.

    The strength I’m talking about is that I’m still here while my mighty men are not.
    So give the young women the ability to live out their years as a strength instead of saddling them with a false strength of equality with men, because it’s a lie.

  • http://shugartpoliticalaction.shugartmedia.com/uncommonsense/ Chris_Shugart

    This is simple math. Take an equal number of soldiers, identically armed. One unit is made up of men and women. The other is exclusively men. It's obvious to me which is the superior fighting force–on so many levels. What argument could possibly refute this?

  • davarino

    If they are so equal let there be all women forces and all men forces. That would be interesting to watch on the battlefield. To make up for all the past wars, let the women go in first. Wouldnt that be FAIR?

  • g_jochnowitz

    Israel has an effective army. Israel has drafted women into its armed forces since Day One of its existence.
    Women are much less likely then men to face front-line duty. However, they are trained to do so. In 1960, I dated a woman from Israel who had won a medal for bravery during the Sinai War of 1956.

    • Zionist Libertarian

      Women in Israel almost never (if ever) go into combat. They're trained for combat, but only as a very last resort. Women went into combat in Israel's War of Independence in 1948. Military analysts determined after the war, that they were more of a liability than an asset. Today, women are heavily represented in Intelligence and other back-line duties where they are an invaluable asset.

  • Ghostwriter

    I'm not saying ANYTHING on this topic.

  • lisag

    It is really about money and equality. Or is It is about destroying our military. It is about degrading women. You can't tell me that there will not be sexual tension in those situations. You can't tell me that the women will not be abused by the enemy and harassed by their fellow male soldiers. A few women could do the job,
    but what woman really wants to go out and kill the enemy with abandon.

  • yasarfaster

    Let's agree that women in combat and overt homosexuals in the military have nothing to do with a more efficient or effective military and EVERYTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.

  • Jim

    So the next step is they should sign up for the selective service.!!!!!!!