24 April 2012

ALMAR 012/12--ASSIGNMENT OF WOMEN TO GROUND COMBAT UNITS

ALMAR 012/12--ASSIGNMENT OF WOMEN TO GROUND COMBAT UNITS
by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 24 April 2012


"I think women are too valuable to be in combat." Caspar Weinberger

 
For today, to keep the readership current, more on the initiative to assign women to ground combat units.

About five weeks ago Commentary titled, 'Destroying the Marine Corps--Women in Combat,' included a YouTube video of sworn testimony given by General Robert H. Barrow, USMC (Ret), 27th Commandant of the Marine Corps, before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1991 regarding this matter of women in combat. General Barrow's words--rooted in extensive combat experience and the highest levels of command and leadership--offered with seasoned poise, eloquence, and moments of raw emotion, were compelling. He closed a little more than 13 minutes worth of  remarks by making his sentiments crystal clear--assigning women to ground combat units will destroy the Marine Corps. Simple as that.

The General's testimony, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy--whDNNKk, is being viewed hundreds of times daily since posted.

Yesterday, General James F. Amos, USMC, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, complying with Congressional direction in this year's National Defense Authorization Act, released notice outlining the Marine Corps' way ahead for the assignment of women to ground combat units. That notice, known to Marines as an ALMAR, follows.


UNCLASSIFIED//

ALMAR 012/12

MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC CMC//

SUBJ/ASSIGNMENT OF WOMEN TO GROUND COMBAT UNITS//

POC/-/-/UNIT: MPO/-/TEL: (703) 784-9386/TEL: DSN 278-9386// GENTEXT/REMARKS/1.  AS MARINES, WE ARE ALL JUSTIFIABLY PROUD OF THE VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS OUR MARINES MAKE DAILY, AND WANT TO ENSURE THAT EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO EXCEL EXIST FOR ALL MARINES ACROSS THE CORPS.  FOR THE PAST YEAR WE HAVE BEEN PARTICIPATING IN A CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) LED REVIEW OF THE LAWS, POLICIES, AND REGULATIONS THAT MAY RESTRICT THE SERVICE OF FEMALE SERVICE MEMBERS IN ALL MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES (MOS').  BASED ON CONGRESSIONAL DIRECTION IN THIS YEAR'S NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT (NDAA), THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PROVIDED FURTHER GUIDANCE IN FEBRUARY 2012 TO THE SERVICES TO ASSESS THE IMPACT OF NEWLY OPENED POSITIONS IN PREVIOUSLY CLOSED UNITS AND TO CONTINUE EVALUATING ADDITIONAL POSITIONS THAT MAY BE OPENED TO OUR FEMALE MARINES ACROSS THE CORPS.  ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE DIRECTED THAT MEASURED AND RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH BE CONDUCTED TO PROVIDE ME WITH THE INFORMATION AND DATA NECESSARY TO MAKE AN INFORMED AND EDUCATED RECOMMENDATION ON POTENTIAL POLICY CHANGES.  THE CUMULATIVE RESEARCH EFFORT WILL INCLUDE AN EXCEPTION TO THE GROUND ASSIGNMENT POLICY, QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH, AND A TOTAL FORCE SURVEY.

2.  CURRENT GROUND ASSIGMENT POLICIES RESTRICT THE ASSIGNMENT OF WOMEN SERVING IN AN OPEN PRIMARY MOS (PMOS) TO CERTAIN UNITS IN THE GROUND COMBAT ELEMENT (GCE).  THE EXCEPTION TO POLICY WILL ALLOW US TO BEGIN ASSIGNING ACTIVE DUTY, UNRESTRICTED, FEMALE COMPANY GRADE OFFICERS, GUNNERY SERGEANTS, AND STAFF SERGEANTS IN THEIR CURRENT PMOS' TO ARTILLERY, TANK, ASSAULT AMPHIBIAN, COMBAT ENGINEER, COMBAT ASSAULT, AND LOW ALTITUDE AIR DEFENSE BATTALION STAFFS IN ORDER TO FACILITATE OUR RESEARCH EFFORT.  FEMALE MARINES POSSESSING AN ADMINISTRATION, LOGISTICS, COMMUNICATIONS, SUPPLY, OR MOTOR TRANSPORT MOS MAY BE ASSIGNED TO THE ABOVE UNITS AS PART OF THE NORMAL ASSIGNMENT PROCESS DURING CALENDAR YEAR 2012.  FEMALE NAVY MEDICAL OFFICERS, CHAPLAINS, AND CORPSMEN (E-6 AND E-7) MAY ALSO BE ASSIGNED TO THESE BATTALIONS.  FEMALE MARINES AND SAILORS WILL BE ASSIGNED TO BATTALION STAFFS IN THEIR PMOS.  THE DEPUTY COMMANDANT FOR MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS WILL DIRECT AND MONITOR ALL ASSIGNMENTS UNDER THIS EXCEPTION TO POLICY.

3.  TRAINING AND EDUCATION COMMAND WILL CONDUCT QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH TO GATHER PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE DATA.  BEGINNING THIS SPRING, MALE AND FEMALE MARINES IN ENTRY LEVEL TRAINING AND MALE MARINES FROM A GCE BATTALION WILL BE SOLICITED TO VOLUNTEER TO CONDUCT THREE TESTS; HEAVY MACHINE GUN LIFT, CASUALTY EVACUATION, AND MARCH UNDER LOAD.

THESE TESTS ARE BASED ON EXISTING TRAINING AND READINESS STANDARDS AND WILL SERVE TO PROVIDE ANALYTICAL DATA TO INFORM MY RECOMMENDATIONS.  ADDITIONALLY, FEMALE GRADUATES OF THE BASIC OFFICER COURSE WILL BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOLUNTEER TO ATTEND THE INFANTRY OFFICER COURSE (IOC) PRIOR TO ATTENDING THEIR PREVIOUSLY ASSIGNED PMOS SCHOOL.  FOLLOWING IN TRACE, WE WILL TAKE MEASURED AND RESPONSIBLE STEPS TO PROVIDE OUR FEMALE ENLISTED MARINES WITH FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES TO VOLUNTEER TO TRAIN WITHIN THE INFANTRY TRAINING BATTALION (ITB).  THE INFANTRY PMOS WILL NOT BE AWARDED FOR VOLUNTEERS THAT ATTEND IOC OR ITB DURING THE RESEARCH PHASE.  THE DATA AND INFORMATION COLLECTED WILL PROVIDE THE FACT-BASED ANYALTICAL DATA NECESSARY TO FORMULATE MY RECOMENDATIONS REGARDING THE POTENTIAL ASSIGNMENT OF FEMALE MARINES TO THE GCE AND OTHER CLOSED MOS'.

4.  ALSO, I HAVE DIRECTED THAT A TOTAL FORCE SURVEY BE CONDUCTED THIS SPRING TO GATHER YOUR INPUT REGARDING POTENTIAL CHANGES TO THE CURRENT ASSIGNMENT POLICIES RELATED TO FEMALE MARINES.  YOUR EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS WILL BE INVALUABLE AS WE CONTINUE TO EVALUATE CHANGES TO EXISTING POLICIES.

5.  I EXPECT ALL LEADERS TO BE FULLY COMMITTED TO PROVIDING EVERY MARINE THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE AND EXCEL, WHILE SUSTAINING UNIT EFFECTIVENESS, READINESS AND COHESION, AND MAINTAINING GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE.  I WILL CONSIDER THE RESULTS AND IMPACT OF THE EXCEPTION TO THE GROUND ASSIGNMENT POLICY, THE QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH, AND THE TOTAL FORCE SURVEY AS WE MAKE FUTURE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE POTENTIAL ASSIGNMENT OF WOMEN TO GROUND COMBAT ELEMENT UNITS.

6.  SEMPER FIDELIS, JAMES F. AMOS, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS//

Think about it. Just twenty-one years separate a commandant testifying that women in ground combat units will destroy the Marine Corps to a commandant being ordered to initiate data collection. Some argue that twenty-one years was too long coming. Others have been working, and continue to do so, to prevent such from happening. Many Marines, regardless of gender, are bewildered we--our country and our Corps--have reached this point. For anyone who has ever earned the privilege to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor and claim the title "Marine" well knows there's nothing to cheer about here.

Thank God General Barrow, at rest since 30 October 2008, is not around to bear witness.

Post Script

Typographical errors/misspellings in the ALMAR stand as released.

2 comments:

Tom H. said...

As cited in the ALMAR from Gen. Amos, he has been directed to carry out "MEASURED AND RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH BE CONDUCTED TO PROVIDE ME WITH THE INFORMATION AND DATA NECESSARY TO MAKE AN INFORMED AND EDUCATED RECOMMENDATION ON POTENTIAL POLICY CHANGES. THE CUMULATIVE RESEARCH EFFORT WILL INCLUDE AN EXCEPTION TO THE GROUND ASSIGNMENT POLICY, QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH, AND A TOTAL FORCE SURVEY."
Short of resigning as CMC in protest, Gen. Amos may be trying to "buy some time" in the research and data collection effort, in the hopes the 2012 Presidential election will bring about major policy change, if not a reversal of this insane guidance from the current administration. This is certainly not a USMC/CMC initiative, and some delaying tactics to temporarily stave off implementation may be the only viable course of action at this juncture.
If all else fails and this comes to pass, The Corps we knew and served in will no longer exist.

Anonymous said...

Having served in the infantry for almost twenty-five years with several combat tours, as both an enlisted Marine and commissioned officer, I have grave concerns about the potential assignment of women in combat arms occupational fields. There is no military necessity for this proposed change and I feel strongly that it will do nothing but degrade the effectiveness of our combat arms units and the Marine Corps as a whole. The Marine Corps has never been a reflection of American current societal norms, and I hope it never is. Young Americans join the Marine Corps because they want to be part of part of an elite organization that will push them to be something better. I saw firsthand the negative impact and unnecessary distraction of having females assigned to the HQBN of a Marine Division. I have no doubt that assigning females to the regimental level and below of combat arms units will negatively impact unit cohesion and their ability to close with and destroy the enemy. To quote our 27th Commandant Gen. Robert H. Barrow,
"EXPOSURE to danger is not combat. Being shot at, even being killed, is not combat. Combat is finding . . . closing with . . . and killing or capturing the enemy. It's KILLING. And it's done in an environment that is often as difficult as you can possibly imagine. Extremes of climate. Brutality. Death. Dying. It's . . . uncivilized! And women CAN'T DO IT! Nor should they even be thought of as doing it. The requirements for strength and endurance render them UNABLE to do it. And I may be old-fashioned, but I think the very nature of women disqualifies them from doing it. Women give life. Sustain life. Nurture life. They don't TAKE it."