Saturday, December 05, 2015

Social Justice in the Military

So, all of the armed forces have been ordered to open all roles without exception, including all combat roles, to women. No mention was made of submarines, which are currently only open to female officers. Putting women in the crews of submarines, if this is included in the order, will be a very interesting exercise indeed.

I have been supportive of the process of more fully integrating women into the full mission of the armed forces to the greatest possible degree, and have been critical of the Neanderthals in the military who have resisted it. I have seen no credible arguments, for instance, why a woman cannot perform on a completely equal footing with a man as the pilot of a jet fighter in combat, and therefor no reason why women should be denied that role.

That process, however, needs to be guided by the best interests of the service and not be dictated by some misguided crusade for social justice. The military’s mission is to maintain the most effective fighting force possible in defense of the United States. Period. Anything which weakens that mission is, to quote the fear mongers in Washington, “a threat to national security.”

The Pentagon asked the military to study the effectiveness of combat units which included women, and so the Marine Corps ran a study lasting more than a year in which it compared the performance of units consisting of men and women (mixed units) and ones comprised of all men. The mixed units did not perform at the same level as the male units by any measure. They were slower on long marches, accuracy with all types of firearms in simulated combat was lower, injury rate was higher

The pentagon criticized the study and rejected the conclusions because they were “based on collective performance instead of assessments of each individual.”  The illogic in that statement rather staggers the imagination, and reveals why this nation and its armed forces are weakened by having a Secretary of Defense who has never served in the military. He thinks the military is about individual achievement and social justice. There is no grasp of the basic concept that the success of the mission is fundamentally dependent the "collective performance" of the force.

Yes, occasionally a hero charges a machine gun and is awarded a medal, but if he never reached the battlefield because his unit was too slow on the road march it would never have occurred, and so the individual achievement is entirely subordinate to the collective performance.

What the civilian in the Secretary’s position doesn’t get is that if, by making sure that “women will now be able to contribute to our mission,”  the collective performance is weakened, then the contribution of those women is negative, regardless of what they do individually. By serving the interests of women, he has gone against the best interest of the armed forces he leads.

This is part one of three, so stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. bruce3:06 PM

    Yeah, female enlisted on submarines ought to be interesting indeed. You can segregate officers (and maybe chiefs to a degree, but you don't get to be a chief on a sub without serving as a lower rating first).

    I agree that women ought to serve wherever able to do so - with the caveat of not degrading the mission of the unit /exercise they are in.

    That may well mean that subs, SEALs, Green Berets, some specialized &/or physically demanding roles may be de facto off limits, or have very limited or no participation by women, at least in the near future.

    Yes, I know it was publicized recently that 2-3 (maybe more) women graduated from the tough Ranger school - that is a milestone and they should be congratulated - and rewarded with assignments/duties equal with their abilities, be it a combat ready role or not.

    I think it is a step in the right direction for these achievements and SecDef orders. There will be difficulties, but nothing good is easy and women in many areas already is setting the right tone.

    Jayhawk 1-0