If you can get through all the bullshit and personnel-weenie talk, the Army G1, a weaselly guy named Bromberg looking like he’s the Very Model of a Modern Major-General, lays out his plan for integrating women in combat positions. (To be sure, it’s the suits’ and the four-stars’ plan, but the G1 — the Army’s top personnel clerk — is the guy who puts the flesh on the bare bones).
BLUF: the standards are going to be the same for both sexes, but pace CJCS GEN Dempsey, they’ll be lowered until the women start passing. It’s still a criterion-referenced test, mind you: it’s just that the criterion is political, not combat-related.
Unlike the Marines, who will require women to meet the existing standards, full stop, the Army has scheduled the integration of women, standards be damned. They’ll also dispense with qualifications and transfer female NCOs and officers right in so that the little dears skipping out of the lowered-standard schools have “role models”:
Additionally, the Army will open positions to women with the Armor Branch and the Infantry Branch. Positions there are numerous. Enlisted women will for the first time have the opportunity to serve as cavalry scouts, armor crewmen, infantrymen, and indirect-fire artillery. As a result of this change, about 90,640 positions will open for women in the Army.
Within the Armor Branch and the Infantry Branch, the Army will also offer junior officers and junior NCOs the opportunity to transfer branches or reclassify into these occupations as a way to build a cadre of experienced female Soldiers prior to the arrival of Soldiers who are new to the Army.
Welcome to the Army of You Go, Girl.
One criterion nobody is looking at is how women are performing currently — in combat theaters, but not in direct ground combat jobs. Let’s see what a report about women and medevacs in Afghanistan says, shall we? Note that this is not a study of field medevacs, but of theater medevacs — that’s the one where you’re jacked up enough to be flown to somewhere out of the rock garden, like Landstuhl, or back to the USA. Women were medevaced at a higher rate, but not that much higher: 22%. But what’s interesting is why soldiers get medevaced.
Top five reasons for men to get a ride out of theater, in order (and rounded to integer percentages): battle injuries (27%), non-battle injuries (15%), musculoskeletal disorders (15%), and mental disorders (11%). That accounts for most injuries (78%, roughly).
Top five reasons for women: mental disorders (17%), “signs, symptoms, and ill-defined conditions” (15%), musculoskeletal disorders (13%), non-battle injuries (9%), and “genitourinary system disorders” (9%) which they specify does not include breast disorders. (We were unaware that was part of the genitourinary system, but defer to the quacks that wrote the report. Anyway, that would be next, if we were going over five — at 6%… and the one after that? Pregnancy, at 4%). The top five here account for 63% of medevac conditions; without the high level of battle injuries, women’s injuries are more spread out across many lower-rate causes.
There’s a lot to pick over in this study, and Time magazine has a typically dishonest report (for example, they memory-holed the “genitourinary disorders” cause of medevac) but was good enough to post the underlying study, from which we recovered the airbrushed numbers.
On the plus side, more than half of the women medevaced weren’t crazy (“mental disorders”) or malingerers (“signs, symptoms…”). So there is that. And also, we should probably note that the women left in theater after these medevacs were presumably the ones who weren’t crazy. Or at least, not medevac-strength crazy.
The Marines, meanwhile, continue trying to find a Roller Derby type who will pass their Infantry Officers Course at the previous standards. A new group of five were selected as the storm petrels of the Amazon Era, following on two pairs that tried, and failed, in earlier classes. The USMC public-affairs functionaries were so sure of this group’s success that they allowed a reporter for the anti-military Gannett Corporation to embed with the would be infantrywomen.
Things got off on the wrong foot right away when three of the five didn’t even show up. The two survivors both boloed the Combat Endurance Test on the first day. One struggled on to the end of the course, underperforming all the way, to be dropped with six underperforming men. The other didn’t make it that far, being cut mid-course for inability to keep up with her peers.
The Gannett reporter, Dan Lamothe, seems to argue that the women were somehow tripped up by the requirement to climb a 20-foot rope twice during the course, and other displays of upper-body strength.
Let’s add it up: So far, nine women have been slotted in the Infantry Officers Course, and zero have completed the course, for attrition rates of, um, that would be 100%. If you don’t count the no-shows (how do you get away with that in the military? Easy, play your Girl Card) they’re zero for six, which, Combat Barbie tells me… “Math is hard!” Oops, wrong Barbie. But that would be 100%. (Note: Business Insider says the USMC is 0 for 10, not 9. What’s that in percents? Can’t we just get the waiter to split the tab?)
And unlike the women downrange, these carefully selected officers are only failing to meet a criterion-based, combat-derived standard. It’s not like they’re saying something bad about politicians or something.
Rowan Scarborough has more on the failed Marines. Hey, they could branch transfer to the Army which even now is figuring out which ropes to get rid of and which tests of upper-body strength are “irrelevant.” Because, equality. Fairness. And Martin Luther King, so there.
Meanwhile, women, who have been admitted to the service academies for about 40 years, are still not allowed to join the football team. How fair is that? And why would an Army determined to install women in Ranger units (by 2015) keep those same heroines off the gridiron?
Maybe it’s because the Army’s senior leaders care about winning. Football, of course. What else would they be thinking of?