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Report: Women In Marine Corps Combat Jobs Will Result In Smaller Infantry Because Women Tend To Drop Out

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Integrating women into all Marine Corps combat positions will cost the service $2 million annually and result in a smaller infantry because women tend to drop out of the force more frequently than men.

At the request of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, RAND Corporation conducted a 215-page study to determine the costs of integrating women into combat roles. The report found that while integration could be successful, the costs remain high, and equal representation is incredibly unlikely.

Female dropout rates mean that if the Marine Corps wants to maintain the infantry at its existing levels, it will have to pioneer more effective retention measures for existing Marines, or invest in funneling more recruits into service.

Integration will result in $1.8 million of annual costs, as well as additional costs stemming from extra physical conditioning and increased injury rates.

The reason costs aren’t much higher is because the report expects the percentage of female Marines in combat roles to remain low. For women to comprise just 2 percent of combat roles, the Marine Corps would need to bring in 100 females a year. The 100-females-a-year figure assumes unusually high training graduation rates.

Aside from costs, the study noted that women may damage unit cohesion and recommended good leadership as the solution. Another possible solution, according to researchers, is “cohesion-building activities that the Marine Corps can put in place to build cohesion in gender-integrated groups.”

As Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted, there will be equal opportunity, but equal representation is unlikely.

Last week, Carter opened up all combat roles to women, saying that all the services must submit a plan for integration by Jan. 1, with full implementation of integration set to occur by the beginning of April. He did not accept the request for exemption from the Marines, arguing that the services need to maintain a consistent standard. (RELATED: Defense Sec Commands Military To Open All Combat Jobs To Women)

Carter’s announcement breathed in new life to a court case arguing that women should have to sign up for the draft, just like men. (RELATED: Court Case To Force Women To Sign Up For The Draft Gets HUGE Boost)

Marine Corps leadership intends to use the study, along with internal research, to support integration efforts.

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