Despite considerable backlash from within the service, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said again Monday that the Marine Corps infantry and Navy SEALs will open up to women, no matter what.
After receiving heated comments from both male and female Marines who participated in and ran a Marine Corps integration study, Mabus clarified Monday at a forum by the City Club of Cleveland that many of the gender gaps on performance could be closed with more training and leadership. What this means is that he’s sticking to his original plan that all combat jobs in the Department of the Navy will open up to women.
He will not submit an exemption by Oct. 1 to keep any jobs male-only.
“I’m not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines,” Mabus said at the event. “It’s not going to make them any less fighting effective. In fact I think they will be a stronger force, because a more diverse force is a stronger force.”
The Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force released a summary of its findings late last week, which indicated that male units exhibited superior performance on 69 percent of combat tasks, and also that women suffered injuries at twice the rate of men.
The very next day, Mabus said in an interview with NPR that an improper mindset was to blame for the results, that is, both the male and female Marines didn’t believe that women could measure up to men from the start, and as a result, that’s exactly what happened. (RELATED: Navy Sec: Think That Women Are Less Capable Than Men? The Recent Marine Corps Study Is Biased)
But both male and female Marines intimately involved in the experiment quickly objected to Mabus’ characterization of the situation. Sgt. Danielle Beck, who took part in the rigorous test, said that Mabus threw the every female participant and the Marine Corps under the bus with his comments. (RELATED: Top Marine Blasts SecNav On Infantry Women: He Does Not Want To See America Win In Combat)
Sergeant Maj. Justin LeHew, senior enlisted adviser with Marine Corps Training and Education Command, the command in charge of the study, said that officials involved in running the study were about as progressive and open-minded as you could hope for and suggested that Mabus “does not want to see America overwhelmingly succeed on the battlefield.”
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