GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter called Tuesday for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to resign over his attempt to force the Marine Corps to end gender segregation at its boot camp.
Consistent disputes between the Navy and the Marine Corps, according to Hunter, undermine the ability of Mabus to lead, since he appears primarily focused on restructuring the Marine Corps to serve his own objectives, The Washington Examiner reports.
“The only way this relationship can be repaired, I believe, is through the leadership of a new Navy Secretary — specifically one who does not regularly make a point to undercut the Marine Corps, distract it from its mission and insult its leaders,” Hunter said in a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
“I respectfully ask that you provide assurance that recruit training and Officer Candidate School will continue operating as they have, without any such disruption to the reliable and effective organization and methods for developing and training Marines,” Hunter added.
The background to this dispute is an order Mabus had issued to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, demanding the service produce a plan by Jan. 15 to integrate women into male boot camp activities.
Neller reportedly became irate at the order and met with Mabus, after which point it appeared the two managed to come to a compromise: boot camp can remain segregated, so long as the Marine Corps promises to push forward with at least some coed training activities.
Hunter’s letter to Mabus is an attempt to clarify whether that newly negotiated arrangement of continued gender segregation is stable. Currently, females live and train separately when stationed at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, which is located in South Carolina. The training is generally the same for both genders, but Marine Corps leadership believes that women are better at mentoring other women. The service’s other boot camp location in San Diego is male-only.
This isn’t the first time Hunter has called for Mabus to resign. Back in September 2015, Hunter wrote to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, saying that Mabus needs to step down for completely disrespecting the Marine Corps by denigrating its study on gender differences in combat. Carter seems to have ignored his letter.
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