Elaine Donnelly is the president of the Center for Military Readiness, an independent, nonpartisan public policy organization that specializes in military/social issues. Founded in 1993, CMR advocates high single standards in all forms of military training and sound priorities in the making of military/social policies.
In December of 2015, the Secretary of Defense made an announcement regarding women's exemptions from direct ground combat assignments. If you're minimally qualified you could not be assigned to the infantry but now you will be if you are in the military. When announced, it was portrayed as something good for women but it's not because women can serve at just about every job in the armed forces. Now, military forces will have the right to assign a woman into any unit even if they know that injury rates are much higher, even in training.
The Pentagon denies that there will be any change in standards. They also deny that there will be gender quotas. The Secretary of the Navy alone wants 25% of the Navy and Marine Corps to be women. Elaine believes that if you want that many women on each ship, and you don't have enough women to meet that goal, you'll have to lower the standards.
She feels this is a social experiment that will cause a decline in military readiness. How do we know this? The Marine Corp initiated 3 years of intense research beginning in 2012. This culminated in a set of task forces that were deployed to the West Coast. For 9 months there were mixed gender units and single gender units that underwent exercises. In 69% of these task force exercises, the gender mixed group did not do as well as the all-male groups.
Elaine warned that in this kind of environment women do not have an equal opportunity to survive or to help fellow soldiers survive. This is the reality that this administration is trying to ignore.
In 1979 Congress decided that it would be administratively unworkable and militarily disastrous to have women involved in Selective Service on the same basis as men. In spite of this there was a move approved April 27th by the House Armed Services Committee to approve legislation to draft America's daughters (ages 18-26) using the Selective Service Act.
To summarize, the National Defense Authorization legislation is being debated right now. The House has stricken the requirement that women register for Selective Service. However, this is still a potential threat in the U.S. Senate. Their vote comes up next week.
On the transgender front, Elaine believes the Department of Defense is treating this like a civil rights issue. Her concern surrounds those who would take advantage of the destruction of any respect for gender realities. She feels that if the military says that gender doesn't matter, and you have someone who wants to enter private areas of the opposite sex, you're inviting trouble because in the military if you feel uncomfortable, you can't simply quit your job. Once you join the military, you have no choice at all.
Elaine also debunks pro-transgender statistics from the Rand Corporation, she notes the increasing number of male-on-male assaults in the military and other concerns as the government continues to make changes to our military.
To contact your senators on this issue, call 202-224-3121 (Senate Switchboard) or go to www.senate.gov.
Center for Military Readiness