PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR MILITARY READINESS
HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY SUB-COMMITTEE ON PERSONNEL
2141 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 1998
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am President of the Center for Military
Readiness, an independent public policy organization that studies and reports on military
personnel issues. We receive no government funding, and are supported by civilian, active
duty, and retired military people in all 50 states.
I appreciate the opportunity to testify on the subjects analyzed by the Federal Advisory
Committee on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues, chaired by former Kansas
Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker. Unlike other official committees that came to different
conclusions, this advisory committee produced a concise and constructive report that
reflects independent thinking, common sense, sound priorities, and a significant shift in
In CMR's view, the purpose of basic training is not to advance a civilian feminist agenda,
or to teach men and women to get along, but to impose a cultural shock that transforms
young civilians--many of whom have not experienced real discipline before--into uniformed
members of the armed forces. Basic training provides the first building block in a process
that builds physical strength and discipline essential for successful transitioning into
Basic training must be focused on basic, primary objectives. Instructors should be free to
concentrate on the quality and efficiency of training programs for both men and women,
without unnecessary distractions. For this reason, CMR concurs with the Kassebaum Baker
Committee's recommendation that male and female recruits be separated in barracks and
small basic training units. Such a change would not solve all problems, but it would be a
modest step in the right direction.
In 1992, the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, on
which I served, found that gender-integrated basic training was a failure. After a five
year trial, the experiment was ended in 1982 for two basic reasons: Men were not attaining
their full potential because they were not being physically challenged enough, and women
were suffering injuries at far greater rates than men.
That should have settled the issue. But in 1994, civilian Pentagon appointees led by Army
Secretary Togo D. West, Jr., and Sara Lister, then-Assistant Secretary for Manpower and
Reserve Affairs, decided to revive the failed experiment. Gender-integrated basic training
was one of several collateral policy changes that were imposed shortly after then-Defense
Secretary Les Aspin changed assignment rules affecting women, in order to provide more
career opportunities. Advocates of the change should have been required to show how
revival of the discredited program would enhance the basic training program in military
terms, but no such case was made. Instead, skeptics are being asked to disprove a case
that has not been made.
The entire issue has been reduced to a vacuous and illogical slogan: Gender-integrated
training is necessary because "We must train as we fight." No one seems
to notice that if we fight as we train--burdened with unprecedented disciplinary problems,
gender-normed double standards, high drop-out rates, and other problems that our potential
enemies don't have--America's armed forces will be in deep trouble.
Proponents have either denied the problems observed by the Kassebaum Baker Committee, or
argue that they are justified in the pursuit of women's equality. To avoid admitting
failure, they have simply redefined success. Physical training components have been
reduced or gender-normed, less-demanding requirements have been given greater importance,
and focus groups measure emotions in civilian terms. The case for co-ed training focuses
primarily on women, rather than the military as a whole.
Despite such efforts, the negative results of gender-integrated training are now apparent
and too troubling to ignore. In exchange for benefits that range from non-existent to
minimal at best, co-ed training and sleeping arrangements have led to rampant sexual
indiscipline at Army training bases around the country, universal bewilderment about
appropriate behavior, gender-normed standards that reduce the challenge for men, an
alarming decline in recruiting numbers (except in the Marine Corps), and serious
deficiencies in advanced training that may be related to distractions in basic training.
Despite these indicators of serious trouble, Pentagon officials continue to assure
Congress and the media that gender-integration policies are working just fine. Problems
associated with physical differences and discipline are ignored, rationalized, or blamed
on a failure of "leadership." Such pronouncements should be viewed with
skepticism, because uniformed and civilian military officials are expected to support
administration policies, or resign.
Declarations of "success" are almost always couched in terms of women's
opportunities or morale. Those are valid considerations, but in CMR's view, the morale and
career prospects of women alone should not be given priority over readiness, combat
efficiency and ultimately, national security. Uniformed women cannot succeed if the
military itself does not succeed.
Kassebaum Baker Report More Credible than Others
Several reports on gender-integrated training have been issued since the scandal at
Aberdeen, including the Army's Senior Review Panel Report, the Defense Department's RAND
study, congressional testimony by military leaders in charge of training, the Kassebaum
Baker Report, and a critique of that report issued by the Pentagon's Defense Advisory
Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). For reasons discussed in more detail
elsewhere in my testimony, the Kassebaum Baker report is the most credible to date:
- Unlike Army Secretary Togo West's Senior Review
Panel, the Kassebaum Baker Committee was composed of members who were largely independent
of the current administration, and had little or no direct involvement in the formulation
or implementation of current policies. (See Section B, p. 12)
- Unlike the Defense Department's 1997 RAND study on
gender integration, the Kassebaum Baker report did not "scrub" its own study by
deleting the most troublesome findings. Rather, the report appears to reflect actual
information and opinions gathered in the field. (See Section C, p. 14 and Attachment A)
- Unlike members of the DACOWITS--who rarely hear
dissenting views and who limit their hearings and recommendations to matters of equal
opportunity and women's career opportunities--members of the Kassebaum Baker Commission
addressed the issue in terms of military readiness. (See Section D, p. 16)
- Unlike the service chiefs and uniformed officials
in charge of training, most of whom expressed enthusiastic support for co-ed training at
one-sided congressional hearings last year, Kassebaum Baker Committee members were not
constrained by the politics of the Pentagon, where dissent from administration policy is
simply not an option. (See Section E, p. 18)
With commendable common sense, the Kassebaum
Baker Commission unanimously recommended that gender-integration in small units be
discontinued at basic and advanced training facilities. Members also rejected unrealistic,
make-shift remedies for problems related to co-ed living arrangements, such as the
so-called "no-talk, no touch" rules that forbid male/female glances of longer
than three seconds. Additionally, the committee transcended political correctness by
recommending tough penalties for persons making intentionally false accusations of sexual
To have produced their remarkable report, commission members must have heard compelling
testimony out in the field, indicating that co-ed training is causing more problems than
it is worth. How else to explain the quiet but firm news conference statement of Deval L.
Patrick, former Justice Department Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, that the housing
of young men and women in co-ed barracks tends to detract from good order and discipline.
It was also a surprise to see a former Vice-Chair and current member of DACOWITS, Dr.
Carolyn Ellis Staton and retired Navy enlisted woman Ginger Lee Simpson, endorsing a
report declaring that "The present organizational structure in integrated basic
training is resulting in less discipline, less unit cohesion and more distraction from
The advisory committee also called for better procedures to screen drill sergeants,
enforcement of policies against disparaging references to gender, consistent
fraternization rules, and tougher physical standards. Most of these goals are laudable,
even though they may be more difficult to implement than they appear. To achieve these
goals, more will have to be done about current policies that ignore physical differences
and sexual attractions between men and women.
There are other areas where the Kassebaum Baker report did not go far enough. The
committee noted, for example, that pressures on recruiters to meet monthly accession goals
is having an adverse impact on quality, and approximately a third of enlistees in the
military fail to complete their first tours of duty. The committee made a sensible
recommendation that the services link the recruiter's "credit" for a
given recruit to that person's performance in basic training. A call to end high
recruiting quotas for young women, whose attrition rates are higher, would have made the
goal easier to attain.
The committee's recommendations have been viewed as similar to the Marines' training
program, but there are significant differences. Unlike the Kassebaum Baker plan, which
would have male and female platoons competing against each other, the Marines separate
enlisted men and women almost totally. The committee also might have taken their study
further by questioning co-ed field accommodations, which have become commonplace, and by
taking a look at current assignment policies placing women in or near previously-closed
A. The Flawed Case for Gender-Integrated Training
In considering the various reports and recommendations before them, members of Congress
should not only consider the advantages of single-gender training in a military context,
but also scrutinize the flawed arguments being used to promote continuation of
gender-integrated basic training. Primary arguments are summarized and answered as
1. The GAO Report
Argument: According to a June 1996 General Accounting Office report, co-ed
basic training is "better" for women, men, and the armed forces as a whole.
Co-ed training improves performance, and there is no evidence to the contrary.
Answer: The June 1996 GAO report frequently quoted by proponents of
gender-integrated training (GAO/NSIAD-96-153) does not support this claim. The thin
document, which incorporated several blank pages and reprints of letters of inquiry to
fill its 13 pages, was virtually content-free. The GAO report also failed to inform the
reader about reasons why gender-integrated basic training, which was tried during the late
1970s, was declared a failure and discontinued in 1982. (See footnotes 1 and 2)
2. Army Research Institute (ARI) Studies
Argument: In a 3 year study of gender-integrated training, the Army Research
Institute (ARI) found that gender-integrated training improves performance among men as
well as women.
Answer: ARI's 3 year study of gender-integrated training, released in February of
1997, does not support the assertion that gender-integration significantly improves
training for everyone. Nor does it provide evidence that co-ed basic training enhances
combat skills. ARI's reported "success" was defined by focus groups, and the
terms of measurement related to sociology, not military realities.
Pentagon directives to repeal women's combat exemptions, and to reinstate co-ed basic
training, created a problem for the Army and its civilian consultants. What to do about
potentially high injury rates among female recruits? The answer was to finesse the problem
by de-emphasizing physical requirements, and re-defining "success" with
training criteria that would not disadvantage women.
The Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, a field operating
agency under the jurisdiction of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, was charged to
evaluate pilot co-ed programs that were reinstated at Fort Jackson and Fort Leonard Wood,
starting in 1993. ARI's report assessed results in three phases--1993, 1994, and 1995--and
reached its conclusions by a) Measuring skills that are not physically demanding; b)
Gender-norming scores on the few tests that do require physical strength; and c) Giving
inordinate weight to the results of focus group interviews conducted by sociologists.
Conclusions about the ARI study, as well as the GAO Report cited above, may be considered
opinion, at best, and probably over-stated.
In all phases, ARI declared the programs successful by re-defining "proficiency"
and the "soldierization" process in terms of women's morale, instead of
military necessity. For example:
- Individual Proficiency Tests (IPT) administered as
part of the Basic Combat Training (BCT) Course have more to do with basic medical skills
than "combat" requirements. The following 20 IPT skills used to measure
proficiency include no physical elements that might put women at a disadvantage, but
instead measure tasks that women perform well, such as first aid techniques, map-reading,
and putting on protective gear:
1. Put on, wear, and remove a protective mask; 2.
Nerve agent antidote to self; 3. Recognize/react to an NBC hazard; 4. Decontaminate skin
and equipment; 5. Nerve agent antidote to buddy; 6. Determine magnetic azimuth; 7. Measure
distance on a map; 8. Apply field pressure dressing; 9. Put on a tourniquet; 10. Treat for
shock; 11. Evaluate a casualty; 12. Splint a suspected fracture; 13. Perform
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; 14. Clear an object from throat; 15. Correct malfunctioning
M16A1/A2; 16. React to challenge and password; 17. Employ a claymore mine; 18. Prepare
AT-4 for firing; 19. Misfire procedures for AT-4; 20. Battle sight zero M16A1.
- To the extent that physical components remain,
scores are gender-normed. At the reception battalion, male soldiers must perform 13
push-ups and female soldiers must perform 1 push-up. If a soldier is not able to perform
at that level, he or she may be assigned to a fitness company for as long as 21 days. Male
soldiers must complete 20 push-ups and female soldiers must complete 6 push-ups in order
to advance to a training battalion.
- Such adjustments are considered necessary because
female trainees are considerably less strong and have far less aerobic capacity and
stamina than male trainees.
- Requirements for graduation are also gender-normed
and flexible. In fact, members of a congressional delegation visiting Fort Leonard Wood
recently learned that there are separate gender-specific standards for the throwing of
hand-grenades, primarily because comprehensive tests at Parris Island in 1987 and 1990
found that 45% of female Marines could not throw a live grenade safely beyond the 15 meter
- As evaluated by ARI, successful "soldierization"
is determined not by military or combat- oriented criteria, but by focus groups analyzing
self-reported feelings. The post-training questionnaire contained 123 questions on
such things as attitudes toward the Army; expectations of basic training; equal
opportunity; sexual harassment; equal treatment; men and women in the Army; training
experiences; and demographic characteristics. These are terms of primary interest to
sociologists, not military commanders.
- ARI focus groups re-defined unit cohesion in
largely civilian, emotional terms; i.e., whether interviewees "like being in the
platoon," "feel very close," " like and trust one another,"
or "make others want to do a good job."
- ARI's subjective "touchy-feely"
measurements have little in common with the classic definition of unit cohesion, which is
essential for military readiness. As explained by numerous military experts and summarized
by the Presidential Commission:
"Cohesion is the relationship that
develops in a unit or group where (1) members share common values and experiences; (2)
individuals in the group conform to group norms and behavior in order to ensure group
survival and goals; (3) members lose their personal identity in favor of a group identity;
(4) members focus on group activities and goals; (5) unit members become totally dependent
on each other for the completion of their mission or survival; and (6) group members must
meet all standards of performance and behavior in order not to threaten group
- It is interesting to note that the word "survival"
appears three times in the classic definition, but nowhere in the ARI study questions used
to measure successful cohesion in the gender-integrated Army.
In summary, the ARI study defines success
in sociological terms, using focus groups to measure subjective feelings instead of
3. Women's Morale as the Primary Consideration
Argument: Gender-integrated training is necessary to improve women's morale.
Answer: The morale of female soldiers is not the only consideration.
In assessing the 1993 gender-integrated program, ARI found that the female recruits'
morale improved 14 percentage points, from 36% to 50%. At the same time, morale among male
recruits dropped 17 points, from 67% to 50%.
4. The Difference Between Self-Esteem, Combat Efficiency, and Morale
Argument: Improved self-esteem and morale among women will in turn enhance
Answer: This argument is not unlike the outcome-based "self-esteem"
philosophy that has permeated the public schools, with disastrous results, for more than
two decades. The premise deserves closer examination in a military context, rather than
It is true that high morale enhances combat readiness, but there is considerable debate
about which is more important, and which comes first. Adam Mersereau, a
former Marine who is currently studying law at Georgia State University, published a
prominent op-ed piece in the November 14, 1996, Wall Street Journal, titled "'Diversity'
May Prove Deadly on the Battlefield." Mersereau has also written a 49-page
follow-up thesis which is highly relevant to the debate about co-ed basic training and
In his thesis, Mersereau asserts that "authentic morale does not grow in its own
soil, [with] combat efficiency as a mysterious by-product." Quoting the late
military historian S.L.A. Marshall, Mersereau continues, "[Rather,]...high morale
flows when the ranks are at all times conscious that they are serving in a
Mersereau's point was demonstrated during an NBC Dateline segment aired on March
16, 1997, about the Marines' "Crucible" program at Parris Island. Male Marines
were shown swiftly accomplishing a difficult task with what the narrator called
"brute efficiency." Women were shown taking more time to do the same job by
using "teamwork" and "strategy."
But male Marines are equally capable of teamwork and strategy. Such qualities are always
important, but "brute efficiency," combined with the speed and agility
more often found in male Marines, is frequently what's needed for survival and completion
of a combat mission.
Retired Marine Col. John Ripley, whose achievements in Vietnam are memorialized in
a display at the Naval Academy, became an authentic hero when he single-handedly attached
explosives to the underside of a bridge at Dong Ha, and blew it up. Col. Ripley, had to
depend on his own "brute" strength, incredible courage, and solitary efficiency
to get the job done.
Mersereau zeroes in on the key question: How much combat "efficiency" should be
sacrificed in order to advance "equal opportunity" goals?
"Combat efficiency yields morale, and therefore must precede it....Morale without
combat efficiency would be of little value on the battlefield. Furthermore, morale without
combat efficiency is most likely an inauthentic form of morale, brought on by false
confidence....To try to build a military's morale without first, or at least
concurrently, establishing a foundation of unshakable efficiency is a dangerous
Gender-integrated basic training programs in the Army, Navy, and Air Force may point to
some success in terms of women's morale. There have been problems, however, that cannot be
ignored. Basic training programs can only be improved by eliminating unnecessary
distractions from the military mission. The goal should be to strengthen basic building
blocks of personal discipline, strength and proficiency, in order to advance military
goals, not sociological ones.
5. Single-Gender Training, Combat Exemptions, and Harassment
Argument: Women's combat exemptions and single-gender training have encouraged
higher sexual harassment rates, especially in the Marine Corps.
Answer: The charge is exaggerated, and the conclusion lacks supportive evidence.
- A DoD survey released on July 2, 1996, indicates
that the Marines do have the highest reported figure on sexual harassment (64%), but that
is only 3 points ahead of the Army's (61%). The Marines also registered the second best
improvement rate since 1988.
- There is absolutely no evidence that assigning
women in or near previously-closed combat positions reduces the problem of sexual
harassment. Harassment figures from the Coast Guard, which has no rules exempting women
from combat duty, still register at 59%.
- In a recent survey conducted by Harvard researcher
Laura Miller, a full 61% of the Army men and women surveyed said that repeal of women's
combat exemptions would increase sexual harassment, not reduce it. The study is
notable because even though Dr. Miller is sympathetic to feminist goals, her research
results conflict with politically correct dogma.
6. Need for Female Volunteers
Argument: Due to the need for women to fill force requirements, we can't go to
war without women. Co-ed training is essential for a gender-integrated military.
Answer: Current high percentages of women in the armed forces are largely due to
politically-motivated recruiting quotas. The Presidential Commission learned that if the
recruitment quotas for women were phased out, there would be no negative effect on
The United States is a large and populous country. There is no need to send young mothers
to fight our nation's wars. If eligible men are avoiding the military and women are being
recruited in their place, even in light of drawdowns that have reduced recruiting demands,
there must be serious problems with the volunteer force that require immediate attention.
7. We Must Train as We Fight
Argument: To enhance the status of women, we must train as we fight--in
Answer: The military should train its soldiers to serve, fight, and win.
To be taken seriously, those who make this argument also should be calling for an
immediate end to all gender-norming schemes and devices, such as step stools in front of
high obstacle course barriers, lower goal marks for women on climbing poles, and all
scoring systems that reward "equal effort" instead of equal performance, that
are inconsistent with wartime requirements. Under new rules placing women in or near
previously-closed combat units, it is even more important that military training programs
reflect wartime requirements, not peacetime scenarios. There is no gender-norming on the
8. The Problem is Sexual Harassment
Argument: The main problems are sexual harassment and abuse of women, for which
"leadership" is the answer. There is no need to discuss other matters related to
gender integration in the military.
Answer: Everyone agrees that sexual abuse by senior officers taking advantage of
trainees is wrong, and severe penalties are in order. But consensual relationships
resulting from sexual attraction and human failings also undermine good order and
discipline. Sound personnel policies, which are the essence of good leadership, should
encourage professional, disciplined behavior, instead of creating conditions that
encourage the opposite.
If the goal of gender-integration is to enhance respect and reduce violence against women,
current assignment policies create a cultural contradiction. Sending women into combat
condones and even encourages violence against women, at the hands of the enemy.
9. Quality in the All-Volunteer Force
Argument: Women are better soldiers. Without great numbers of them, trained
along with the men, the quality of the volunteer force will suffer.
Answer: In view of proposed force reductions, the Congress must take a hard look
at costs related to gender integration, especially those related to co-ed training,
recruiting quotas, pregnancy, family support, medical and child care for single and
dual-service couples, higher attrition rates among women, etc. The House National Security
Committee's report titled "Military Readiness 1997: Rhetoric and Reality"
chronicled the results of numerous field interviews conducted by members of HNSC in the
past year. With regard to training, Rep. Spence reported that:
- Recruits entering the military are less prepared,
fit and motivated than in the past. Army studies indicate that the rate at which recruits
are failing standard physical fitness tests has increased to 30 percent-triple the Army's
overall failure rate; and
- Due to inadequate basic and preliminary training,
units are arriving less prepared for advanced training at the services' premier training
The Committee deserves praise for chronicling
many problems that need to be addressed. The next step is to ask for and publish gender
breakdown figures, and to ask legitimate questions about the effect of gender integration
on the problems mentioned above. Official inquires should also investigate costs
associated with disciplinary problems, and costs incurred when soldiers are mal-assigned
to occupations beyond their physical capabilities.
All of these questions are even more important as the force continues to draw down. A
smaller force, combined with increased deployments, make physical strength, deployability,
and training for combat efficiency even more important-not less so.
10. The Military Cannot "Turn Back the Clock"
Argument: Co-ed basic training is inevitable and permanent. It would cost too
much to end it.
Answer: All military programs are highly debatable, and personnel policies found
to be failing should be ended, not continued for political reasons. A comprehensive trial
with co-ed basic training was ended in 1982--not to "punish" female soldiers,
but to improve the quality of training for men and women alike. Co-ed training should be
considered no more inevitable than the Seawolf submarine or the proposed F-22 fighter.
11. Congress Should Not "Micromanage" the Military
Argument: Congress should defer to the Pentagon on military personnel issues.
Answer: Under Article 1, Section 8, it is the constitutional duty of Congress
"To raise and support Armies...[and to] provide and maintain a Navy." Congress,
therefore, has a duty to provide diligent oversight, and to formulate policies for the
Department of Defense.
The Kassebaum Baker Committee's straightforward and unanimous recommendation that
gender-integrated training and housing arrangements should be ended should be taken
seriously and acted upon without delay. At the very least, these recommendations must be
given greater weight than other reports on the same subject, as analyzed below:
B. The Senior Review Panel Report
Army Secretary Togo West's Senior Review Panel (SRP), formed to come up with
recommendations in the aftermath of the Aberdeen sex abuse scandal, produced a two-volume
report that was, to say the least, an inadequate response. For example:
1. The document obsesses about feelings and personal opinions, but barely recognizes the
true purpose of military training. Nor does it inquire whether co-ed basic training is
contributing to deficiencies elsewhere, such as a growing need for remedial training at
2. The Senior Review Panel did not produce an objective study, but it did serve to divert
attention from Togo West's policies, and to buy time until the furor quieted down. The
results were not surprising, because the majority of the seven members and eight
consultants were either staunch proponents of the feminist agenda, close associates of
Togo West, or officials whose duties should have alerted them to serious problems long
before the Aberdeen scandal broke.
3. Given the SRP members' inherent conflicts of interest, it's not surprising that their
report avoided direct criticism of their own actions or the policies of Secretary West and
his assistant, Sara Lister. In addition to co-ed basic training, West and Lister are
responsible for gender-integrated tents, double standards in training and disciplinary
matters, unprecedented assignments for women in or near previously-closed combat units,
counterproductive recruiting quotas, and pregnancy policies that encourage single
parenthood and related deployability problems.
4. The SRP report barely mentioned the demoralizing effect of career-killing false
accusations motivated by self-interest or revenge. These were encouraged by a runaway hot
line system, since discontinued, which invited anonymous callers to create a witch-hunt
atmosphere of revenge, suspicion and despair. Few people remember that two Aberdeen
soldiers who were accused of sexual misconduct committed suicide in January and March of
5. The SRP did not address the intractable issue of consensual sex between peers, or
inappropriate senior/subordinate relationships that develop in exchange for special
favors. The panel missed an opportunity to perform a public service by acknowledging the
obvious: Current basic and advanced training programs are being conducted in a sexually
volatile atmosphere, conducive to misconduct by male and female soldiers alike.
6. The book-length report rambles on for 592 pages, not counting the "Human Relations
Action Plan (Tier One and Tier Two), composed of an additional 120 pages of "equal
opportunity" jargon recycled from bureaucratic briefings and diversity trainer wish
lists. The entire body of work suggests, unrealistically, that abuse, misconduct, and
consensual sex are "fixable" by social engineering and bureaucratic mandates. In
particular, the SRP recommends an extra week of "sensitivity" training, to be
conducted by diversity experts with a mandate to expand, re-engineer, and enhance the
status of equal opportunity (EO) programs. According to the Army Times, this jobs
program for diversity trainers will cost the budget-strapped Army the equivalent of about
three battalions of soldiers in the field.
Reading the Fine Print
Despite its unrealistic conclusions, some of the focus group surveys done by SRP
researchers reveal useful but disturbing findings. For example, Volume Two of the report,
titled "Focus Group Protocols," revealed that male and female soldiers have
vastly different opinions about interpersonal relationships, double standards, and the
value of co-ed basic training.
- Among male soldiers in training, for example, the
most frequently mentioned recommendations for change were as follows: 1) Separate males
and females during basic combat training (BCT); 2) BCT needs to be harder; and 3)
Recruiters need to tell the truth. By contrast, the female trainees recommended that the
Army: 1) Re-look the "battle buddy" policy (which requires female soldiers to
walk in pairs); 2) Improve barracks living conditions; and 3) Improve sexual harassment
training. (Question 15, p. G-28)
- Volume Two also revealed that a majority of male
and female interviewees agreed that the military exists to defend the country, but only
57% of the men and 33% of the women agreed that "The main focus of the Army should be
- Among men surveyed, 60% were either "not
sure" or "disagreed" that "The soldiers in this company have enough
skills that I would trust them with my life in combat." The combined figure for women
- In response to the following questions, "I
am impressed with the quality of leadership in this company" and "The
officers in this company would lead well in combat," 61% of the men said they
were not sure or disagreed. The figures for women were 70% and 66%, respectively.
- And in response to "If we went to war
tomorrow, I would feel good about going with this company," 63% of the men said
they weren't sure or disagreed, while 76% of the women said the same.
With results like these, midnight oil should be
burning in the halls of the Pentagon. Instead, Secretary West announced his plan to deploy
legions of sensitivity/diversity trainers armed with public relations strategies,
pocket-sized values cards, role-playing scripts and easel-mounted briefing charts.
Which brings to mind an observation by philosopher George Santayana: "Fanaticism
consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim."
C. The RAND Study: Sensitive Information Deleted
The 1997 RAND study on gender integration, titled "New Opportunities for Women:
Effects Upon Readiness, Cohesion and Morale," was authorized by Congress in the 1997
Defense Authorization Act, and conducted by RAND under the direction of the Department of
Congress sought objective information, but the Center for Military Readiness discovered
last year that the draft version of the RAND report, originally titled "Recent Gender
Integration in the Military: Effects Upon Readiness, Cohesion and Morale," was
revised and "cleansed" of political incorrectness prior to release on October
21, 1997. Starting with the first part of the title, which was changed to "New
Opportunities for Military Women," unidentified spinmeisters censored or revised
sensitive passages, while playing up those in support of gender integration. Truth, it
seems, is the first casualty of social engineering.
CMR's comparison of the draft and final versions, included with this testimony as
Attachment A, indicates how difficult it is to get accurate information from the
Department of Defense. A number of candid statements made by interviewees in the
field--servicemen and women who trusted that their views would be faithfully
reported--were paraphrased, revised, or omitted all together. Quotable "sound
bites" were added to skew media perceptions of the report, and to euphemize certain
controversial findings regarding pregnancy, interpersonal relationships, mandatory
political correctness, and readiness.
The Pentagon Feminist Spin
The study was released with the usual feminist spin, proclaimed by RAND's news release
headline: "Military Readiness: Women are Not a Problem." In an article published
the same day, Dana Priest of the Washington Post focused on the news that 47,544
previously closed occupational specialties were recently opened but filled by only 815
women. She also claimed, incorrectly, that Congress had "ordered" the positions
to be opened up, and implied that the "negligible" and "minuscule"
results were evidence of gross discrimination against women.
Priest's account failed to notice that the majority of women might be avoiding unpleasant,
previously all-male near-combat jobs, or are simply unqualified for them. Self-appointed
women's advocates suggest that gender quotas should be used to force women where they
shouldn't or don't want to go.
Congress has never enacted such a mandate, because of predictable consequences. Physical
standards would have to be gender-normed or dropped all together. Legions of sensitivity
trainers would have to be trained and deployed, at great expense, to cope with escalating
disciplinary problems. Pregnancy and childcare costs would soar, and morale would flag.
Potential recruits would shun the volunteer force, and experienced soldiers would continue
to resign in great numbers. In an actual war, combat effectiveness would be vitiated,
lives needlessly lost, and national security threatened.
All of these problems were evident in the RAND report, but superficial accounts obscured
disturbing news buried in the document. For example:
- In units that are undermanned or heavily populated
with women, pregnancy has a negative effect on "availability" for deployment.
- Women are more prone to injuries; medical lost
time (including maternity leave) detracts from unit strength and readiness.
- Gender-norming reduces female injuries, but
heightens resentment of double standards and degrades morale.
- Some women demand co-ed housing, while others
complain of male supervisors with access to their sleeping quarters.
- Disciplinary rules don't seem to apply to women,
and men are terrorized by false accusations of sexual misconduct.
Male/female tension is everywhere, but
administration officials proclaim-disingenuously-that gender is not a factor.
Gullible reporters enthused about surveys supposedly showing strong support for women in
voluntary combat, without recognizing that such an option would be just as unworkable for
women as it is for men. Only 10% of female privates and corporals agreed that women should
be treated "exactly like men" in the combat arms.
The report's bibliography, which included books and articles with loaded titles such as
"Warrior Dreams: Violence and Manhood," "Sexism and the War System,"
and "Woman, Race, and Class," explains why the RAND report reads like a
tax-funded feminist polemic. Far-left authors and liberal sociologists, such as Angela
Davis, Susan Faludi, Catharine MacKinnon, Madeline Morris, Judith Steim, Mady Segal, and
Patricia Schroeder are heavily represented. Authors and experts with differing views or
actual military experience are conspicuously scarce.
The chapter on "cohesion" is particularly problematic, because it declares
"success" under a civilianized definition. The new, politically-correct
definition of cohesion differs sharply from the testimony of expert witnesses appearing
before the Presidential Commission, who described the importance of building cohesion for
reasons of combat effectiveness:
"...Unit members [must] become totally dependent on each other for the completion of
their mission or survival; and group members must meet all standards of performance and
behavior in order not to threaten group survival."
RAND researchers, on the other hand,
defined cohesion not in terms of combat survival, but in civilian "workplace"
terms relating to "social" relationships (getting along) and accomplishment of
"tasks" (getting the job done.)
Gender is disavowed as a problem factor, except in certain areas. Men in gender-integrated
units tend to be more careful about personal cleanliness when working around women, and
are more likely to confide their problems to female colleagues, which decreases their
desire to fight or drink excessively. That's about it on the positive side.
RAND recommends tests to qualify individuals for "heavy-labor" jobs, but only if
they don't become "barriers" to women's careers. The big "if" signals
a replay of efforts in the early 1980s to devise effective tests that would match
individuals to strenuous jobs.
According to Lt. Col. Harry W. Crumling, USA (Ret.), who participated in the project,
diligent work by Army flag officers and exercise specialists to devise such a system was
soundly rejected by "the women's lobby within the Pentagon." This is why the
RAND recommendation sounds politically correct, but is really illogical. Feminists keep
saying they want equal treatment, but if women don't succeed in equal numbers, they demand
D. DACOWITS and Feminists Attack the Marine Corps
The Kassebaum Baker Report drove the usual feminist factions, especially the Pentagon's
Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), into a state of panic.
Instead of responding to the reports' specific findings, feminists engaged in
sloganeering, warning the Pentagon that it must not "turn back the clock."
The DACOWITS tried to divert attention from the Kassebaum Baker Report by issuing its own
critique on January 20, 1998. Among other things, the introduction claimed that "Trainers
in particular said that more negative and prejudicial attitudes towards women were
fostered in male-only training schools and units..." In typical DACOWITS'
head-in-the-sand fashion, committee members hadn't even visited the Marines' training base
at Parris Island.
A lack of understanding about Marine methods and culture hasn't stopped many critics from
vilifying the Corps. Sara Lister's characterization of the Marines as
"extremists" surprised many people, but among feminists, her attitude was not
unusual. Several female members of Congress, for example, defended co-ed training by
charging that the Corps' single sex training regimen causes higher rates of sexual
The canard is unfair. A 1996 Defense Department study found that some form of sexual
harassment was reported by 64% of Marine women, only 3 points higher than the Army's 61%,
and the Corps' rate of improvement is the second best since 1988.
More importantly, the primary purpose of basic training is not to reduce sexual
harassment, but to transform civilian men and women into soldiers. The Kassebaum Baker
panel found that the Marines' single sex approach produces "impressive levels of
confidence, team building and esprit de corps in all female training platoons at the
Parris Island base."
The Marine Model
The Marines Corps has demonstrated that a well-designed single-gender basic training
program, with same-sex drill instructors, can be tailored to challenge male and female
trainees to the limit, without subjecting women to demoralizing injuries that cause them
to drop out. With some reservations, CMR supports the Marine Corps' single-gender approach
to training. Women Marines receive tough, challenging training, but they live and train
separately from the men.
Members of the Presidential Commission, who visited Marine Corps training
facilities at Parris Island, Quantico, and Tweny-Nine Palms, found that the women
Marines were fully supportive of separate training and living accommodations. In their
view, gender-integrated arrangements were out of the question. When Presidential
Commissioners visited Twenty-nine Palms in 1992, two women Marines posed proudly outside
of their gender-segregated tent, holding a sign reading "Off Limits to
Males." To guard against the occasional man who might wander in after dark, the
women's tents were surrounded by coils of concertina wire.
In 1992, Maj. Gen. Gene Deegan, then-Commanding General of Parris Island, told the
Presidential Commission that it would be "ludicrous" to institute co-ed
basic training for enlisted women Marines. The Presidential Commission recommended that
entry level training may be gender-specific as necessary, largely in response to Gen.
Deegan's testimony on June 25: "If I were to maintain the same intensity for
[women in training as] the male recruits, I would have a very difficult time recruiting
any females, and if my recruiting mission remained the same, I would fail in my recruiting
mission." Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak continues to support the
separation of men and women in basic training, and promises that the Corps will not yield
to pressure for change.
This does not mean that the Marines' training regimen is perfect in every way. CMR
continues to be concerned that certain elements of the training, such as pugil stick
exercises opposite other women, contribute to the illusion that women are now ready for
actual combat against male soldiers. Some senior woman Marines with experience in combat
zones expressed a word of caution to the Presidential Commission about
"confidence" courses that create a false sense of security about women's ability
to cope with true combat violence.
Still, CMR applauds the Marines for sticking to their principles on single-gender
training, and recommends that the other services benefit from their experience.
E. The Pentagon Establishment
Given political realities, including Congress' apparent reluctance to hear or support any
other view, no one should be surprised that uniformed officials provided predictable
testimony endorsing policies they have formulated, implemented, or endorsed in previous
congressional testimony. Nevertheless, the credibility of such testimony should be called
into question. As defense analyst and Army combat veteran John Hillen wrote:
"Just months ago the service chiefs staunchly defended current training practices
before Congress, despite the fact that all the problems identified ad infinitim by the
Kassebaum Baker panel were festering in the training centers and the force at large.
Senior military leaders have for years been tacitly enforcing an Orwellian regime of
euphemisms, double-speak, and a thousand daily winks at the absurdities of politically
correct military training. The confidence course instead of the obstacle course. Oh,
please....The Kassebaum Baker report, while in effect calling for only a modest
segregation of the sexes in basic training, is important in that it refutes this culture
of political correctness in favor of military correctness. It is a small step on the path
to political courage."
There is also reason to believe that some Pentagon officials are willing, or are being
required, to withhold information or deliberately mislead the public on certain
controversial issues. According to Navy Times , Louis Finch, Deputy Undersecretary
of Defense for Readiness, wrote a memo on August 7, 1997, admonishing staff members not to
reveal or comment on negative field trip reports. The gag order was issued shortly after Washington
Times reporter Rowan Scarborough obtained and quoted an internal field report about
serious maintenance and equipment problems at an Air Force base.
In addition, former Army Assistant Secretary Sara Lister, Togo West's liaison to the
Senior Review Panel, told U.S. News and World Report reporter Richard Newman that
the service is reluctant to publicly discuss strength and pregnancy issues, because in the
past, those subjects quickly became fodder for conservatives seeking to limit women's role
in the Army.
Pentagon officials have an interest in proclaiming that nothing is amiss, but Congress has
a responsibility to find out why the Kassebaum Baker panel voted as they did. In providing
oversight on defense issues, personnel matters are even more important than
The issue in question is high quality and efficiency in basic training programs, upon
which combat readiness and national security depend. In judging the "success" of
basic training, no other consideration should take precedence.
There are no simple answers to problems of sexual misconduct, but the first step is to set
sound priorities. Even the Washington Post is catching on to this fundamental
principle. In a May 1, 1997, editorial titled "Women in the Military,"
the Post expressed concern about sexual misconduct at Aberdeen. "In sorting
out these issues, national security, not equal opportunity should come first."
The Center for Military Readiness recommends a comprehensive approach that begins, but
does not end, with restoration of single-gender basic training. Congress should also put
an end to recruiting quotas, so that numbers and assignments of women can assume a more
Co-ed housing arrangements and generous pregnancy policies that encourage indiscipline and
single parenthood are sorely in need of congressional review. In addition, double
standards in training and disciplinary matters that heighten resentment and tension
between the sexes merit corrective action. The Presidential Commission Report provides
extensive information and guidance, and I am ready to assist the House National Security
Committee in any way I can.
Even successful institutions must sometimes change direction. In the early days of the
Apollo space program, NASA lost three astronauts--their names were Grissom, White, and
Chaffee--in a devastating fire. The men perished when the pure oxygen atmosphere within
their space capsule was ignited by an unexpected spark. Instead of risking more lives by
aiming for zero sparks, the mechanical engineers redesigned the spacecraft.
The military, on the other hand, is playing dangerous games with human beings in a highly
volatile atmosphere, as if people can be counted on to be more perfect than machines. What
will it take for the social engineers to learn their lesson?
Instead of embracing the notion that human sexuality doesn't matter--which is social
fiction comparable to science fiction--single-gender training programs must recognize
reality, enhance the military mission, and encourage good order and discipline.
Military readiness and national security depend not just on ships, planes, tanks, and high
technology, but on people who volunteer to serve their country in uniform. Their jobs must
not be made more difficult or more dangerous due to misdirected priorities and
sociological agendas. They are looking to you for leadership, and Congress cannot afford
to let them down.
RAND REPORT REVISIONS: SENSITIVE PASSAGES DELETED
The Center for Military Readiness has discovered that the draft version of the Defense
Department's RAND report, titled "Recent Gender Integration in the Military: Effects
Upon Readiness, Cohesion and Morale," was revised and "cleansed" of
political incorrectness prior to release of the final report on October 21, 1997. A
comparison of the draft and final versions reveals that a number of candid statements made
by interviewees in the field--servicemen and women who trusted that their views would be
faithfully reported--were paraphrased, revised, or omitted all together.
Quotable "sound bites" were added to skew media perceptions of the report, and
to euphemize controversial findings regarding pregnancy, interpersonal relationships,
mandatory political correctness, and readiness. To emphasize the careerist spin desired by
the Pentagon, even the first part of the title was changed to "New Opportunities for
Military Women." The following are changes noted in the final RAND report, compared
to the draft version:
1) The RAND report draft included a frank discussion of problems caused by heavy
concentrations of single mothers in some units:
"Single, pregnant, junior enlisted personnel were considered the most problematic of
all pregnancies, for several reasons. First this was perceived as a moral issue, and thus
distasteful to those who thought military personnel should adhere to higher moral values.
Of more relevance to the readiness of the unit, however, was that pregnant single women
were perceived to be a long-term burden. Not only were their activities potentially
restricted during pregnancy, and their absence during their convalescent leave a loss to
the unit, but their problems being a single parent were felt to have the most effect upon
the unit....Many junior enlisted personnel cannot afford to live off base and own a car,
so in some places they must take the bus to work and are frequently late." (p. 40,
The revised version, which also appears on page 40, is somewhat shorter and more vague,
with references to "moral issue" and "long term burden" excised or
paraphrased. The section did admit that such problems "consume the time of
supervisory personnel...but few of those problems were "unresolvable."
2) The final RAND report section headlined "Other Findings Related to Gender"
(pp. 94-96) is dramatically different from the draft section titled "The Findings
Within a Context of Transition," which included the following comments that are
missing from the final version:
"Pregnancy is an unplanned loss exclusive to women, which unit commanders reported
may dramatically increase unplanned losses, which hurt understaffed units the most.
Pregnancy is most problematic because those workers either cannot be replaced or
replacements are often delayed: both leave positions either partially filled (due to
limited work responsibilities during pregnancy), unfilled, or compensated for by other
workers taking on extra duties for half a year to a year....When women, especially single
women, intentionally become pregnant to escape either unpleasant duties, a certain
command, or a deployment, both men and women resent the additional burden they must
shoulder as a consequence of their absence." (p. 101, draft)
"...Additionally, men perceive that young women who regret their decision to join the
military can use pregnancy as a 'Get out of jail free card.' whereas young men have no
such escape clause." (p. 102, draft)
3) Both versions report that only 43 percent of military personnel surveyed agreed with
the statement, "'I believe that my coworkers and I would respond well to a crisis.'
Service, unit, grade, race, and gender were not significant in this item." But the
next sentence, was dropped: "That number is unsettling given that the military's job
is to be prepared for what is essentially a sustained crisis." (p. 62, draft)
The missing sentence was a significant editorial comment by RAND researchers. By contrast,
comments that praised gender integration were included and emphasized in the final version
and accompanying news releases.
4) The original section on "Sickness or Injury" does not equivocate on reports
that women are sick or injured more often. "As the Marines told us, 'Women were broke
more often,' or experience a disproportionate number of injuries." (p. 41, draft)
But the final version added this on p. 40: "There are no automated records of the
frequency of and reasons for absence, however, so we could not confirm these
reports;" and this on p. 41: "Most units did not report that gender integration
has had a significant negative effect upon the number of personnel available to a
unit...[when] units were fully staffed and the proportion of women was
The problem is that many units in the downsized military are indeed under-staffed, and the
"availability" problem is aggravated by gender-quotas that result in the
"Amazon units" mentioned on p. 40 of the draft.
5) The following observations were
also deleted from the final report:
* "Some unit commanders appear to feel pressured to report success in the training,
retaining, and promotion of women. Men who perceive this believe women are given more
opportunities than men to work up to the standard." (p. 102, draft)
* "Women agreed that false harassment complaints are a problem, and added that they
undermine the ability of women who are truly harassed to have their complaint taken
seriously..." (p. 104, draft)
6) Page 85 of the draft includes a straightforward statement: "Another gender issue
that was perceived to have an effect upon morale was the existence of dating or sexual
relationships within the unit...." But the final report expresses the same idea with
some equivocation: "In this study, we had no way of determining how common dating or
sexual relationships were in these units. When these relationships had occurred, they were
perceived to affect morale..." (p. 79, final)
* * * * * * *
ELAINE DONNELLY March, 1998
Elaine Donnelly is President of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent
501(c)(3) educational organization that concentrates on military personnel issues. CMR,
which is supported by prominent civilians, active duty, and retired military people in all
50 states, advocates high, single standards in training and disciplinary matters,
assignment policies that are consistent with military realities and American cultural
values, and sound defense spending priorities that do not sacrifice readiness and morale
for the sake of social engineering.
In 1984, then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger appointed her to be a member of the
Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) for a three year term. In
1992 she was appointed by President George Bush to serve as a member of the Presidential
Commission on Women in the Armed Forces, which was charged to study the question of
whether women should be assigned to direct combat positions in all branches of the
As a commissioner, Mrs. Donnelly participated in fact-finding visits to twelve military
bases all over the country, including the Army's Fort Bragg, three Marine training bases,
the Naval Academy, several ships, submarines, and a SEAL training facility. She has also
experienced two "trap" landings on the carriers John F. Kennedy and Kitty
Hawk, Air Force survival training at a prisoner of war camp, and a supersonic flight
in the F-15 Eagle.
Mrs. Donnelly coordinated the writing of the "Alternative Views" section of the
Commission's report. She has done extensive research on military personnel issues, and her
articles have been published in the Washington Post, USA Today, Washington
Times, National Review, the Naval Institute's Proceedings, Detroit
News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Policy Review, VFW magazine, Strategic
Review, and several newspapers nationwide. She is also the author of a monograph
titled Politics and the Pentagon -- The Role of Women in the Military.
Mrs. Donnelly has appeared on many network programs, such as CNN's Crossfire and Prime
News, NBC's Today and Dateline, ABC's Nightline and Good
Morning America, and PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer Report and a 2-hour National
Review "Firing Line" debate.
In 1997 Elaine Donnelly was the first woman to receive the Adm. John Henry Towers award
from the New York Naval Aviation Commandery, in recognition of her support for naval
aviation. (Previous honorees include Admirals William F. Halsey, James L. Holloway, and
Stanley Arthur, Sen. John McCain, former Secretary of the Navy James Webb, and President
George Bush.) Since 1990, she has participated in a number of public forums nationwide,
including programs sponsored by the Naval Institute, the John F. Kennedy Institute of
Politics at Harvard University, the Indianapolis Economic Club, the First Marine Division
1997 convention, and Independent Women's Forum.
Elaine Donnelly served as the first woman chairman of the State Republican Issues
Committee (1987-1989), and in 1984 was Press Secretary for the Michigan Reagan/Bush
campaign. In 1985 she traveled to the Reagan/Gorbachev Summit Meeting in Geneva,
Switzerland with a private delegation supporting strategic missile defense.
She attended the University of Detroit and Schoolcraft College, and was a regular
commentator on Detroit WJR-AM radio's "Point of View" series from 1976-1991. She
lives in Livonia Michigan with her husband, Terry, and is the mother of two grown