Navy Sec: Think That Women Are Less Capable Than Men? The Recent Marine Corps Study Is Biased

Jonah Bennett | National Security/Politics Reporter

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus thinks the results of the recent Marine Corps study, which demonstrated that women are less capable at ground combat than men, are biased and wrongheaded.

Despite the conclusions of the study, in an interview with NPR Friday, Mabus continued to maintain that the Marine Corps would benefit from an integrated force. According to Mabus, the dramatic and consistent differences discovered between male and female performance are really just a product of a mindset, which biased the results.

“It started out with a fairly large component of the men thinking this is not a good idea, and women will never be able to do this,” Mabus said in an interview with NPR. “When you start out with that mindset, you’re almost presupposing the outcome.”

That mindset, apparently, is responsible for causing women to miss shooting targets more frequently and for sustaining injuries at twice the rate of men. It is also responsible for rendering women 15 percent less powerful than men in the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force study, and making it extra difficult for them to drag wounded troops off the battlefield and move around heavy packs. (RELATED: Marine Corps Study Shows That Men Are Better In Ground Combat Than Women)

Nevertheless, Mabus cited a study from the Center for Naval Analysis, in order to say that these performance gaps could be closed to provide “the same combat effectiveness, the same lethality, which is crucial.”

For Mabus, the reason that gender integration is so important is because “a more diverse force is a stronger force…if you have the same outlook, if you have the same mindset, you don’t get much innovation.”

As Mabus has already stated—even before the study was released—that he does not intend to seek an exemption by Oct. 1 to bar women from the Marine Corps infantry, by January 1, integration will likely take place, fulfilling an imperative set in place by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2012. (RELATED: Navy Sec Signals Intent To Let Women Be Marine Infantry, Special Ops)

This means that the service should expect a clear increase in innovation when women enter.

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