Women do not belong in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry, says Marine Officer Lauren F. Serrano, and national leadership should focus on preserving national security, not devoting valuable time and resources to incorporate women where they aren’t needed to promote a political agenda.
“If the infantry had opened to women while I was still a midshipman or second lieutenant I probably would have jumped at the opportunity because of the novelty, excitement, and challenge; but, to my own disappointment, my views have drastically changed with experience and knowledge,” Capt. Serrano wrote in an essay for the Marine Corps Gazette Journal. “Acknowledging that women are different (not just physically) than men is a hard truth that plays an enormous role in this discussion.”
Capt. Serrano’s overarching argument was that the mission and needs of the Marine Corps is more important than the desires of individuals, and since there is no need for women to join for the Marine Corps to accomplish its goals, resources should not be devoted to that.
“Although perhaps advantageous to individuals and the national movement for complete gender equality,” she wrote, “incorporating women into infantry units is not in the best interest of the Marine Corps or U.S. national security.
War is “not a fair business,” she argued, and enemies “do not necessarily abide by their adversary’s moral standards or rules of engagement,” so militaries do everything they can to ensure success. “For the Marine Corps, this means ensuring that the infantry grunt (03XX) units are the strongest, most powerful, best trained, and most prepared physically and mentally to fight and win.”
Capt. Serrano went so far as to call women who want to join the infantry “selfish,” because they’re putting their career before the needs of the Marine Corps. “The time, energy, and conflict associated with setting women up for success in infantry billets will not make the Marine Corps more combat effective,” she argued.
“Incorporating women into the infantry does not add to the infantry mission to ‘locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and/or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat.’ Period,” she added. “The mission does not say, ‘with ranks of equal men and women, locate, close with close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and/or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat.'”
The U.S. Marine Corps is not lacking in numbers or strength, she wrote, and can afford to be exclusive. And she points to a number of positions that have opened up to women in other areas, such as intelligence and special operations, because their ability to gain access to certain places and people because of their gender uniquely qualifies them to serve.
“Marine Corps infantry is not broken, so let’s not ‘fix’ it,” she writes.
“I am forever indebted to the many women who courageously advocated for the women’s rights that I enjoy today. Perhaps it is slightly unfair to the few women who desire to join the infantry, but that should be a necessary accepted evil because the needs of the Marine Corps are more important to society.”
“National leadership should be more concerned with ensuring the Marine Corps infantry units are as strong as possible to fight our Nation’s battles,” she concludes, “not with avoiding a difficult EO debate, promoting a particular political agenda, or maintaining a certain public image. Above all, preserving national security should be the driving factor of infantry policy change.”