All Marines are now being forced to undergo training to erase “unconscious bias,” as women start to enter all combat roles for the first time.
The Marine Corps wants this training to already be underway before the first set of female recruits hits boot camp, in order to clamp down on potential misgivings and ill-will, Military.com reports.
Teams will spread around the Corps to provide two-day seminars to officers first, and then those officers will in turn instruct those of lower rank under their command to avoid prejudice based on race and especially gender. Seminars will also include a discussion on some practical examples of the obstacles that will present themselves and ways units can overcome them.
The reason for the training is mostly because male Marines have by and large been totally opposed to allowing women into combat roles. A survey conducted in 2012 by the Center for Naval Analyses found two-thirds of males Marines disapproved of integrating women, and a third of female Marines also opposed the idea. Although the Pentagon released a trove of documents in support of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s decision to open up all combat roles to women, the unfavorable survey was curiously not included in the document dump.
Instead, The Washington Post had to dig it up through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
Additionally, the Marine Corps was the only service to request an exemption to keep some combat roles male-only. Carter denied the exemption request, saying he wanted to keep standards consistent across all services. The request came following a Marine Corps study, in which male-only units vastly outperformed mixed gender units on combat-related tasks, though Navy Secretary Ray Mabus bashed the Marine leaders who ran the study, saying they biased the results. Moreover, Mabus argued that even regardless of the study results, average performance does not matter. Instead, what matters is whether individual female Marines can pass the standards set in place for combat specialties. Mabus and other high-level military officials have insisted repeatedly that standards will not lower to accommodate women.But many rank and file Marines no longer trust Mabus, and neither does Marine Gen. John Kelly. At his final Pentagon briefing, Kelly said there will be incredible pressure to collapse standards because of “agenda-driven” officials bent on seeing more women enter combat positions.
“There will be great pressure, whether it’s 12 months from now, four years from now, because the question will be asked whether we’ve let women into these other roles; why aren’t they staying in those other roles; why aren’t they advancing as infantry people?” Kelly said.
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