Mabus: Women will be allowed in all Navy and Navy combat jobs
Marine Corps infantry, Navy SEALs and all other Department of the Navy combat jobs will be open to women by the end of this year, and no exemptions to the department’s new gender-neutral employment policy Defense will not be granted despite the results of a Marine Corps Study on Women in Combat, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus reiterated during a speech Monday in Cleveland.
Mabus expanded on his previous remarks criticizing the Marine Corps’ long experience of comparing all-male combat units to those that included women. The Marines released a four-page summary of results last week indicating that all-male units performed much better in 69% of tactical tasks, and that female troops were injured more than twice as much as men.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Women in combat
“This study served a very good purpose. These are standards, standards that have something to do with work. Once you’ve done that, I see no reason to say “because the average person, the woman, can’t meet them, we’re not giving anyone a chance,” Mabus said.
“We are not looking for the average. There were women who met this standard, and a lot of the things that women failed to do can be corrected by two things – training and leadership. “
Here is a full transcript of Mabus’ remarks during the speech and question-and-answer session at a forum hosted by the City Club of Cleveland, attended by Naval Academy alumni and parents as well as college students. of secondary ROTC.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus:
I will say a word about Marines and women in combat arms. It comes back to Leon Panetta when he was Secretary of Defense, rebutted the presumption and said it was all open. Every occupational specialty in the military is open unless you request an exemption, and if you request an exemption, the President (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and Secretary of Defense must approve it. No one is asking for an exemption in the Navy. My main military assistant here, Bob Smith, is a SEAL. SEALs do not ask for an exemption. Our notion is set standards, make sure those standards have something to do with the job, and then if you meet them, you meet them.
The Marines did a very long study, about six months, looking at women in things like infantry, armor, artillery. And in the end, they came out – and I read the study quite carefully a few times – in a different place than mine, because they’re talking about averages, and the average woman is slower, the average woman can ‘ Don’t carry that much, the average woman is not as quick on certain jobs or tasks. The other way to look at it is that we are not looking for the average. There were women who met this standard, and a lot of the things that women failed to do can be corrected by two things – training and leadership.
And so I’ve been pretty clear, and I’ve been pretty clear about this for a while – I’m not going to ask for an exemption for the Marines. This will not make them any less effective in combat. In fact, I think they will be a stronger force, because a more diverse force is a stronger force. And that won’t make them any less deadly. And those are the two things you need to protect in the Marine Corps. “
In response to a public question from a man asking Mabus to expand on his comments on the Marine Corps study, Mabus said:
“In the Marine study, number one, I knew about the study of course, but I’m not reaching out and saying to do that kind of study, to do that kind of study. It came from the operational forces of the Navy, from the Navy staff. But the way it was structured was that they asked women volunteers to go and do the closed trades now. Infantry, artillery, armor, AAV pilots – amphibious assault pilots. And the standards for women going into those conditions were very minimum standards – basically volunteering, and you had to do a certain number of pull-ups and a run, but that was pretty standard. Then they took action by assigning women to the Marines who were already in the infantry, already in the artillery, already in armor. And they made the results. And some of the results – on average, women gave up more. On average, women could not wear as much or hurt themselves more while wearing. On average, the women’s teams were slower. Not a lot, but a little. But it was all average. There were women who passed all the tests in this area.
So one of my concerns about that was that we hadn’t done a very good job of selecting people before volunteering. One of the things that came out was that there were no standards, zero, for most of these jobs. You just assumed that if somebody went through training camp, a man went through training camp, that he could do it. A lot of men can’t. And so the only big thing that came out of it was that all of a sudden there are standards. So male or female, you’re not going to be in the infantry, you’re not going to be in armor, or whatever, unless you meet those standards right off the bat. This is a very good thing that came out of the study. Once you get past that and those standards have something to do with the job at hand, they’re not just arbitrary – you know, you have to be able to do 100 pull-ups to be in the infantry, which has very little to do with infantry – then you have to stop looking at averages. Then you have to start looking at individuals. Women were injured a lot, if not more than men, on duty. Men were injured four times more than women off duty! (Audience laughs.) So we have these idiots out there, “Here, hold my beer and check this out. (Audience laughter.) So are we preventing the men from being in the infantry because they get hurt so much outside of their service? I do not think so.
And so, you know, I think this study served a really good purpose. These are standards, standards that have something to do with work. Once you’ve done that, I don’t see any reason to say “because the average person, the woman, can’t meet them, we’re not giving anybody a chance.”