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  • Army Generals Passive Aggressively Knock Marine Brass Over Women In Combat

    In contrast to Marine brass who want to keep women out of some combat roles, Army generals last week were quick in expressing just how eager they are to open absolutely all roles to women.

    At the three-day Maneuver Warfighting Conference in Fort Benning, Ga., Gen. David Perkins, head of the Training and Doctrine Command, dared soldiers to inquire about gender integration before launching into a 15-minute speech about exactly how the Army had come to the conclusion that opening all combat roles to women was the right move, the Ledger-Enquirer reports.

    The conference comes at a time of major dispute between Navy and Marine Corps leadership. While Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has insisted—both before and after the recent Marine Corps gender integration study—that all combat roles in the Department of the Navy will open to women, the Marine Corps has other ideas.

    Marine officials are expected to request that at least some combat roles remain closed to women.

    But Sue Fulton, an open lesbian appointed by Obama to serve as chairwoman of the U.S. Military Academy Board of Visitors, trashed the Marine Corps for its decision, calling its leadership “backward.”

    “The Marine Corps — so backward that they still separate women from men in basic training — did the equivalent of tossing women into the deep end of the pool and asking them to compete with the swim team,” Fulton said. “Now, they’re trying to tell everyone that women just can’t hack it, and accusing others of political motivation while they themselves are pushing everyone from junior sergeants to senators into the media to defend their all-male infantry.”

    Fulton cited the “different approaches” that the services took to studying gender integration, implicitly knocking the Marine Corps for not following in the Army’s footsteps.

    “When the services were asked to review opening jobs to women, they took different approaches,” Fulton said. “The Army set about this based on objective data, informed by years of gender integration. They allowed women to train locally with men preparing for Ranger School, they screened based on high, gender-neutral, physical fitness standards, and they set objective parameters for success.”

    The Army generals at the conference, while not explicitly mentioning the Marine Corps study, took pains to demonstrate the exhaustive nature of their research on the issue.

    “Our criteria was it had to be quantifiable, qualifiable and legally defensible,” Perkins said, referring to gender integration studies in the Army.

    For other Army generals, the issue is somewhat of a personal matter. Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general of the United States Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, said, “I go back a long time on the gender integration … I have three daughters. My oldest daughter is a senior captain, teaching at West Point, and she will be a major soon. Commanded a company, deployed twice, married to a major who deployed three times.”

    The generals focused on a line of logic familiar to integration, namely that the issue is about standards, not gender.

    “Anybody who meets that standard should be able to serve,” Brown said. “No question. I would think the younger generation will almost laugh at the older folks: ‘What don’t you get about it?’”

    Since the Army brass appears free of open dissenters, Secretary John McHugh is set to deliver his recommendations to Defense Secretary Ash Carter next week, which is ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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