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Marine Corps Reportedly Intended To Keep Units Male-Only From The Very Start

Reuters/Lance Cpl. Marionne T. Mangrum

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Anonymous sources opposing the Marine Corps study have started to emerge from the woodwork. The latest allegations are that the Marine Corps intended to ask for an exemption to keep combat roles male-only even before the study took place.

One Marine source told Military.com that “The U.S. Marine Corps telegraphed its intentions to ask for an exception to policy for infantry MOSs and units from the beginning.”

Yet, such a stance is little different from the pro-integration side in Navy leadership. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said long before the Marine Corps study released the summary of its findings that he was set on opening up all combat roles to women—without exception. (RELATED: Navy Sec Signals Intent To Let Women Be Marine Infantry, Special Ops)

The study relied on inexperienced female Marines that were screened at a lower physical level than men. On the other hand, the males were experienced infantrymen. Additionally, the units switched up from one task to the next, rendering long-term unit cohesion impossible. And cohesion, according to some sources, could have made up the difference in performance.

“Unit cohesion breeds performance,” one U.S. Army source told Military.com. “If one person sees another person performing, they want to perform to that level, and if one person isn’t performing to a level, they all help that person improve.”

Without cohesion, the source continued, units won’t reach their full potential.

All-male units performed better on 69 percent of combat tasks compared to mixed-gender units, according to a four-page summary of the study released in early September.

Mabus also forwarded a new criticism of the study in a recent Washington Post editorial, arguing that average performance is irrelevant when trying to decide whether to exclude all women from certain combat roles. Instead, individual performance should take precedence. (RELATED: NavySec: Averages Don’t Matter, What Matters Is Individual Female Performance)

A group of officers repeated one of Mabus’ criticisms at a media roundtable Tuesday.

Retired Army Col. Ellen Haring insisted that comparing average performance was the wrong methodology. Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano also adopted a previous accusation by Mabus that low expectations from leadership resulted in divergent gender performance.

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