U.S. Marines from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing listen to a brief as they begin training as part of the Lioness Team on Camp Korean Village, Iraq, July 31, 2006. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jennifer L. Jones) (Released)The Washington Free Beacon published results of little-known study commissioned by the Marine Corps that looked at how the Obama Administration’s policy change allowing women in combat could impact retention and recruitment.

  • One in four males in the U.S. Marine Corps said they would leave the Marines if women were involuntarily posted in combat positions.
  • 23% of male and female Marines said they would not have enlisted in the Marine Corps if women were placed involuntarily on the front lines.
  • 22% of male Marines said they will likely leave the Corps at their next opportunity if women were involuntarily placed into combat positions.  17% of female Marines said the same.

Other points from the executive summary:

  • Sizable percentages of women indicated their willingness to serve in a combat position, the survey found.
  • Thirty-one percent said they would be “interested” in moving to a major combat role while 43 percent said they “would have chosen a combat arms” position when they joined the Corps.
  • Another 34 percent said they would volunteer for the Marine’s Ground Combat Element (GCE), a first-attack land force comprised of combat arms and communications.
  • Male and female Marines had differing concerns over sexual integration of combat forces.

They study found that even 17% of male Marines would not have joined if women could have volunteered to serve in combat arms.  It also highlighted a retention problem down the road:

Additionally, the survey found that some critical Marines are more likely to leave the corps due to the policy changes.

Corporals and lance corporals “were most likely to say that policy changes would prompt them to leave the Corps at their next available opportunity,” according to the survey. “This may be viewed as particularly problematic because lance corporals and corporals constitute the bulk of the first-term reenlistment population.”

The Washington Free Beacon said they have filed a FOIA request to get the full study instead of just the executive summary.  This however sheds some light on one branch of the service.  I have to wonder how the Administration’s policy change will impact the other branches of the service.

Maggie Gallagher wrote last week that there are three questions that must be raised about this policy change:

  1. What is the cost to military effectiveness of sending women into combat?
  2. What is the cost to the taxpayer?
  3. What is the cost to young women themselves?

Gallagher then lays out numerous studies that demonstrate the potential cost of the policy change.

The Pentagon will have a problem and the Administration’s desire to be “politically correct” could very well diminish military effectiveness.  Even with widespread support we are going to have to consider the unintended consequences of this decision.

Photo by Sgt. Jennifer L. Jones, USMC

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