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  • Marine Corps Officials To Defy NavySec With Plan To Keep Combat Roles Male-Only

    Neither the Army, Navy, nor Air Force are predicted to submit a request to keep combat jobs closed to women, but the Marine Corps appears to be breaking away from the pack in a move sure to exacerbate existing tensions with the Navy.

    Officials under cover of anonymity say that the Marine Corps is expected to ask that at least some combat jobs remain male-only, The Associated Press reports.

    The next step in the process is a little complicated. Gen. Joseph Dunford currently serves as the Marine Corps commandant, but will shortly switch roles to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The problem is that he will have to render a decision on the exemption he himself submitted while as commandant.  Service chiefs will pass along their proposals to service secretaries, who will then pass their final recommendations to Defense Sectary Ash Carter.

    Carter is apparently well-aware of the dispute between leaders in the Navy and Marine Corps, and although he lands firmly in the camp that prefers for all combat jobs to be open to women, he stated that he would at least review the plan Marine Corps officials have in mind.

    Mabus made clear Monday that he will not seek an exemption to keep certain jobs male-only and stood behind his remarks that the recent Marine Corps gender integration experiment — which found that men performed superior to women on 69 percent of combat tasks and that women were overwhelmingly prone to injury — was flawed.

    His comments sparked outrage both from Congress and Marines.

    In response, GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter wrote Carter a letter, asking him to call for Mabus’ resignation, given that his public handling of the study amounts to a disrespect for the service and an insult to the Marines who ran the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force.

    The issue is particularly important to Hunter, as he served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The Marine Corps study cited an older report from a presidential commission regarding women in the military, which said that “Risking the lives of a military unit in combat to provide career opportunities or accommodate the personal desires or interests of an individual, or group of individuals, is more than bad military judgment. It is morally wrong.”

    Dunford has interpreted the study one way, and Mabus another, but Carter has the final say by January 1.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

     

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