I think these comments will conclude my series on the destruction or emasculation of our close-combat units by the politically correct civilian crowd who run our Pentagon.
The word has been circulating in military circles since 2010 that the combat exclusion policy for women in combat arms would be overturned around now. This was long before any serious so-called tests were run to see what the impact would be on combat readiness. The decision was made in advance by the politicians; facts were of zero interest to them. Some of the advocates simply want equality, others talked about more women generals, and one group wanted to change the American male culture.
As one Female Engagement Team Program manager shared in Afghanistan in 2011, “the decision has already been made; we just need to talk about “the how” instead of “if”.” If you remember my discussion about Lt Ashley Smith and the book about her Ashley’s War, she was in a Female Engagement Team in Afghanistan assisting our army Rangers.
And this, matches what it is reported that every Army Command Sergeant Major in 2011-2013 was told by high-level CSMs and General Officers while attending their pre-command courses: “women will be in combat arms and women will graduate Ranger School, if any of you have a problem with that, you need to get out of the military.” They reported that the Ranger Instructors at Ranger School were told the same thing.
This same message was a similar one that was being told by people who had friends who were Ranger Instructors. The message: “women will graduate, we will guarantee it, and so if you can’t handle that fact, you need to move on out of Ranger School.” That means get on-board, or get out.
Now, in my day it was very common to consider that all the staff at the Pentagon was out of touch with the reality of the real army. I’ve met few officers before or since who didn’t make that same gripe.
However, an un-named officer who had recently left his assignment at the Pentagon said, “I used to think the Pentagon was divorced from the reality of the combat arms side of the military- that it was so out of touch with the average infantryman that it made me sick to work there. But that was when I first got there,” he continued. “Today it is times a hundred. The advocates of the women in combat arms are basically part of a larger effort to change the military culture- which they call a “rape culture”- and these folks are really linked close to the wider effort to change American culture.” And this guy is not alone in his reporting.
One of the things that this means for our military is that combat arms positions are being cut while sexual harassment and assault counselors and advisers are being hired. Some see it as a cottage industry that requires a never-ending problem that has to be over-sold.
The effort to change military culture also includes the effort to overturn the combat exclusion rule. This rule, as many advocates for overturning it have argued, is the strongest reason that men view women as less than men. According to some, it is the reason military men rape women, sexually harass them, and devalue them. It is the reason women get out of the service at higher rates, are injured more than men, have more PTSD issues, and score less on their PT tests. Does this sound as insane to you as it does to me?
To change the overall culture, the thinking goes, the military must change. This is where the argument for overturning the combat exclusion rule using our allies’ experiences as proof that it will work is disingenuous. Our allies who have opened combat arms to women have simply opened their combat arms branches to women. That is all. No culture change. The Germans, French, Australians, Canadians, and Israelis still have a traditional male culture in their combat arms. The very few women who have entered these countries’ combat arms have had to grow thick skin or they’ve been shown the door.
But our plan is very different. The Pentagon is micromanaging the transition. There is no trust that the services will get to the goals of 20%- at least- of all combat arms service members to be females. Once the order has been given to make the change happen, which is expected sometime late this year or early next, it has been strongly implied to all general officers that if they are seen as “dragging their feet” they can expect an early retirement.
Commands are being told that they must have female mentors in place before the combat arms-branched females get to their units or show up to schools. For Ranger School this means female observers who are not ranger-qualified. The implication is clear: a severe lack of trust among all parties from the top down.
Operational units will have to scramble to find women in non-combat arm specialties and place them in combat arms units. The focus does not seem to be on simply integrating females into units as much as it is to make females in combat arms specialties successful.
This is not an army I would want to serve in—and definitely not one I’d want to fight in. Combat effectiveness has been trashed.