tv Discussion Focuses on Women in Combat Roles CSPAN April 4, 2017 2:42pm-3:57pm EDT
clumsy. they were cynical burnt out former intelligence or fbi agents who were supervised by young men on nixon's staff who just wanted to be one of the famous quotes gorks the cat that brought the dead mouse to the president's door. >> sunday night at 8 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> and next up a discussion on women in combat. naval postgraduate professor talks about the challenges and changes to the military since the 2015 decision to allow women in combat units. this is an hour and 15 minutes.
>> okay. i guess we have a break. we can get going. welcome to everyone. my name is mack owens. we are an independent graduate school of national security affairs. we offer three masters degrees. we offer an executive and a professional masters as well. in addition we have 18 certificates. we're very happy to cosponsor this event with mark meyer whom i will introduce this very second. we've got a great speaker who is done a great deal of work in this area.
it's a topical topic as you know. i think that department of redundancy department. we are cosponsoring this with the center for military and diplomatic history. mark miller, say a couple words. >> great. i'm dr. mark mirror. i wanted to thank dr. owens, president who have done a wonderful job organizing this event and several others that we've done here and also lindsay markel. we do events on history that have relevance to today's issues. we've been hosting an average about one event per week since we were formed nine months ago and we particularly like to bring in people who haven't necessarily been heard inside
the beltway. there's a tendency as i'm sure a lot of you know to recycle the same speakers and so we were able to bring in our speaker from california and she's -- though she's well-known has not actually spoken publicly in d.c. before. this is the first event we've done on this subject, certainly one i think that is very relevant to military affairs because it's not just a cultural issue but one of military capabilities and readiyness and people on both sides of the debate contend that their policy is better in terms of maximizing u.s. military capabilities and we do see a lot of history involved in this discussion. comparisons with things like bringing african-americans into the military or women into other parts of the military or changing the policy on gay and lesbian service or the history of women in actual wars.
we very much look forward to a discussion of what we have learned, what we should learn from the past and maybe what lessons of the past are not the ones to follow. so thank you. thank you for having us. >> the introductions continue. i'd like to introduce elaine donnelly who is the moderator today and elaine and i go back aways working on this topic in tandem, not always together but i mean for the most part we've been taking this issue very seriously for a very long time. elaine is the founder and president of the center for military readiness which is an independent nonpartisan that focused on military readiness and social issues within the military. she is served on the defense adviser committee on women in the services and probably more
importantly the presidential commission on the assignment of women in the armed forces. she's provided testimony to congress, published articles on military personnel issues in a variety of publications and i think probably the most important one she did was the one she did for dick law review which laid out many of the legal issues and was in response to an article by mad lin morris. so she graduate from university of in detroit and she lives in michigan. so elaine will now introduce our speaker. >> thank you. yes. mack owens and i do go way back. i think the last time i saw you in-person was at the naval war college. and i was there for a seminar and it was a real thrill to meet you and i've always admired your
writings and articles about the issues involving women in the military. i want to thank dr. mark moyer for sponsoring this program and certainly the snut for politics for hosting us here today. i've also been a long time ad mier of dr. ana simons on issues involving women in the military. she has been chronically the sweep of history right from the start going back decades ago. i have a note from her from 1977. we were corresponding that far back because of a book she had wrote. this may be the first meeting of its time at a crucial time of change in the armed forces. this is perhaps the first opportunity that we will have to take stock and figure out where are we going with this? is this a good idea for women or is it not? in 1992 professor anna simons earned her ph.d. in social
anthropology at harvard university. it's an honor to introduce her because since then she's been in the field of academia and i'm sure teaching many students common sense as well as everything she knows in the field of anthropology. since 2007 she's been teaching at the naval postgraduate school in california and prior to that, professor simmens was an associate professor of anthropology at ucla and a visiting instructor in anthropology at duke university. in 2011 she cowrote the sovereignty solution, a common sense approach to global security. she has conducted field research in somali and ft. brag and she wrote a book called networks of disillusions, somali undone. somali's still a trouble point. her list of scholarly articles is six pages long but she has been in all the major
publications, "the new york times," "the washington post," boast globe and the african-american news. i found it interesting that before she entered into the world of academia she was involved in politics for academe i can't, she was involved in politics for a while. she was an assistant to the governor of arizona, bruce babbitt, and an assistant speechwriter for president carter. i first became aware of her when she wrote her first book, "the company they keep." her husband is a retired special forces officer. but that wasn't the only reason she wrote about this. she applied what she knew about anthropology to analyze that specialized culture of special operations. in that we have something in common, because i'm a civilian but i have enormous respect for the rough men who defend our country. their interests, everything they believe needs to be given more
study and more awareness. and that's why we're here tonight. dr. simon has brought insight into the community of warriors. and the funny thing is, there's some people who comment, social justice warriors, but they don't know anything about what real warriors do. dr. simon does. i think the reality of civilian control of the military puts on all of us, civilian or former military, we all have a responsibility to watch what happens to the military. they're there to defend us and we need to be there for them to defend them. with great pleasure, here is dr., professor simons. [ applause ] >> i should actually just go back to california now so as not to disappoint anyone after that introduction. but i want to thank iwp and fpi for hosting. and i also want to thank mark for having invited me, i think, i think i want to thank mark.
i say i think, because while i've written on this topic off and on for the past 20 years, publicly speaking out is always fraught. and i would say, if anyone in the room knows of anyone who is a young aspiring graduate student in psychology, there's probably no better topic to focus on than why people respond so emotionally to the issue of women in combat units. i'm going to try to stay dispassionate and to be provocative, since i think that's my pedestriagogical deba. i'm not speaking on behalf of the naval postgraduate school where i teach or on behalf of any other entity in dod. meanwhile, others in the room, like elaine and other invitees, have encyclopedic knowledge of
the inside the beltway history of this issue. i know others have inside knowledge of the physiological realities of trying to meet certain physical standards. i'm going to defer to them during question and answer, during the questions and answers or the discussion about injury rates, readiness challenges and so on. as for the questions i want to raise, they haven't gone unasked so much as they've remained unanswered over the past 20 years. for opponents of women in combat units, those who successfully lobby for lifting the combat exclusion ban have done a masterful job of putting opponents on the defensive. just the fact that i can use these two words, "opponents" and "proponents" signifies who has had the political upper hand. indeed defense secretary leon
panetta was brilliant when he declared that all ground combat units would be open to women in january 2016 unless the service chiefs could justify which specific units should remain closed. by putting the onus on the service chiefs and the civilian secretaries to have to try to defend the status quo, he essentially sand bagged any male in uniform who could only then sound like a chauvinist. they have also engaged in clever slight of hand by equating women serving in combat with women serving in combat units. at this point only misogynists doubt women's ability to serve under fire. combat is not an issue. combat units are. i don't know who is more anxious on behalf of qualified women
than special operators who some might say comprise the ultimate boys' club. from operators' perspective, women are already a critical asset for intelligence work, reconnaissance, and certain other sensitive missions. operators' concern, which should be our concern, is how would women's presence help them close with and destroy the enemy more effectively. it can't and won't, unless you believe as some proponents do, that women think sufficiently different from men. i'll come back to this momentarily. first let's review why we have combat units in the first place and why we should want them to be as single mindedly lethal and focused as possible. unless other military units that are responsible for handling logistics, communications, intelligence, and other functions, ground combat units
exist to take the fight to the enemy and to kill or destroy more of them than they can kill of us, no matter how long it takes, no matter how little support they receive, and no matter how many casualties they suffer. casualties. that's what the enemy speaks to inflict. casualties or attrition is why combat units have to be predicated on interchangeability. when someone is wounded or killed, someone else needs to be sent to take his place. interchangeability, meanwhile, brings me back to the idea that because women don't think like men, they add value. but if that's it case, then women and men aren't easily interchangeable, are they? a female casualty could only be replaced by another female, which presents major logistical and other challenges. so which is it? either men and women do think alike and are eminently
interchangeable, in which case why add women, or if men and women don't respond to situations differently and don't think alike, well, then, what does injecting females into small 10 to 12-man groups do to cohesion? cohesion, that's a term i've come to despair of, thanks to what academics have done to it. forget about what you think cohesion might mean. academics have split it into, there's social cohesion, which is how much people like each other, and then there's task cohesion, which refers to soldiers' ability to do a job regardless of their interpersonal differences and dislikes. increasingly, academics have argued that the only kind of cohesion military units need is task cohesion. to remain effective over the long haul no longer requires
that individuals have anything more than the mission in common. yet has anyone asked those in ground combat units or the sergeant's make who oversees them how they define cohesion, or whether academics might have gotten this wrong? although even more significantly, and what academics don't tackle at all is, what wrecks cohesion? curiously, the studies so common in the services, special operation command, on gender integration, didn't delve into this. maybe that's because all sentient adults know what can wreck cohesion. but if you don't seek it, you don't have to find it. many and women have been each other's most consistent distraction since the beginning of time. to pretend there won't be problems when young men and women are thrown together for prolonged periods in emotionally intense situations -- college campuses, anyone?
-- defies common sense. it also defies biology. there is a darwinist opposition. cast back through history or literature. men's abiding interest in women and women's interest in having men be interested creates limitless potential for rivalry, jealousy, favoritism, suspicion, distrust, and friction. why would we want to interject any of this into combat units? proponents, of course, say that in the thick of combat, no one is thinking about sex or gender. okay, that's true. but this is also a classic red herring argument. the potential for trouble lurks after more before the bullets are flying. spend time around soldiers, when they're coming down from adrenaline highs or are obsessed or board or frustrated, they're prone to all sorts of
temptations. red herring argument number two is that men voice the same objections about blacks and gays not so long ago and they got over those objections. they'll against over the integration of women too. except attraction between the sexes are all together different than the other ones. red herring argument number three is that numerous of our allies have opened their ground combat units to women so we should too. but why, we should ask, have they done so? one aim for progressive european militaries is to model social justice. they're quite explicit about this. which of course they can well afford to be. why? because who in the end do they know will come to their rescue? i don't mean any disrespect, but few of our allies can get anywhere without our logistical
help. thus leaving our ground combat units is the only thin line between us and harm. so how, again, will injecting women into their midst make them more lethal in combat? and why haven't proponents been made to answer this? or maybe advocates here would tell us that our ground combat units likewise need to serve purposes other than combat as well. for instance, maybe they need to do something beyond excelling at fighting and need to exemplify social justice or equity. but if equity is what proponents care about, then why don't they lobby for a draft? or patriotispatriotism, women'so defend the united states in the same way men do, why don't they argue for all-female units?
or why not challenge the promotion system overall, since anyone, male or female, who is not in a ground combat unit, must be similarly disadvantaged? although here i note more research does need to be done. are there positions that would or could prepare a woman to be able to eventually compete for a shot at being able to be a wartime combatant commander, without her having had to lead an infantry squad, a platoon, or a special forces team first? could a woman do other jobs and still be able to viably lead an infantry battalion, a brigade, or division? which rungs would combat soldiers say they need their commanders to have climbed? pose these questions to enough men in uniform and it might turn out there is a way or maybe there's several ways to finesse the issue of getting more women into senior military command positions without having to alter the makeup of ground combat units. is it conceivable a woman would have what it takes in men's eyes
to lead them effectively without her having been a grunt first? maybe she doesn't have their speed, their strength, or stamina. but if she proves strategically smarter, why not? if this is one incomplete area of research, a second involves data that already exists. tens of millions of dollars have been spent on studies. but what about systematically analyzing what's already in the records? for obvious reasons, to do with budgets and political sensitivities, neither the army nor the marine corps will voluntarily air their dirty laundry. but how many hours have been lost to investigations and disciplinary actions relating to fraternization, sexual assaults, and allegations of these and other gender-related issues when men and women have been co-located? publicly everyone says glowing things about combat support and female engagement teams. and some officers i know are deeply grateful they were sent
american women who could search and interact with afghan women. their teams experienced no problems with american women who belong to either combat support teams or female engagement teams living on their fire bases. but some teams were torn apart. how many? where is the data? and why isn't this considered relevant? of course read the studies, and they acknowledge between the lines that looking too closely in this direction would prove devastating. why? because one conclusion reached prior to the lifting of the ban is that men and women should really be trained together. you shouldn't just thrust them together downrange. when they train together, they bond more familially. they become protective of rather than predatory on one another, which is interesting, especially since, once again, the very real prospect of attrition is being
ignored. but say one of these units that had bonded thanks to training together takes a gender casualty. then what? does the whole unit need to be pulled out so it can be retrained together? in other words, the question is, if training together from the outset is so critical, what does that mean when there's attrition? for anyone not unanimous with them, and as i hope i'm making clear, combat units have no civilian analog. no other entities are designed to be sent into harms way for such indefinite periods of time in order to inflict harm. wildfire firefighters might come closest in terms of having to copy in a similarly unstable 24/7 environment. but every job you might think is comparable to combat involves shift work. employees don't only get to go
home but they get a break from one another. they can decompress and regroup apart. not so in ground combat units. people say, what about astronauts, surely they're stuck together and have to get along. to which my first one-word response is, attrition. does nasa really face attrition and interchangeability challenges once astronauts are in space? my second one-word response is aggressiveness. even if we forget all the other differences between astronauts and combat soldiers in terms of age, presumed maturity levels, and the extensive screening astronauts receive, nasa doesn't need testosterone-filled fighters. ground combat units do. but then what else is associated with testosterone? according to what advertisers keep bombarding us with, if you watch any tv at all, with testosterone comes a heightened
interest in sex. now, maybe that's just marketing spin and maybe what we were all taught at a certain age in high school biology class is wrong. but then, in all seriousness, for all the tension that's been paid to cortisol and whether men and women handle stress similarly, what about testosterone? who has canvassed the literature about that? and if they haven't, why haven't they and what does that suggest? missing from the studies done preparatory to opening all ground combat units to women and what's been avoided in the debate thus far doesn't just suggest but confirms this i object to has been too politicized for too long. the research is incomplete. at best the studies done are insui insufficiently rigorous. at worst, they've been biased. if, as seems to be the case, we live in an era where social science is allowed to trump
common sense, then at a minimum social scientists should be made to be more thorough, which should mean they need to be sent back to the drawing board on this topic. [ applause ] >> we have time for questions and answers. >> you have made some really provocative statements, and i really appreciate it. just a couple of that come to mind first. and then of course we would like people in the audience to ask you some questions. the argument has been made that we need women in the special operations forces because that would make them smarter, that women have more degrees, and graduate degrees, and this would increase the quality of special operations forces. this was stated in a recent special operations forces briefing. i have a printout here that someone in the army sent to me. and i'll also throw this out too, in the same briefing, under
the category "myths not facts," it says, "it is a myth that women are physically incapable of handling the rigors of combat arms, even though the overwhelming scientific evidence gathered by university of pittsburgh for the marine corps show that in 65% of combat tasks, the mixed gender groups could not compete with the all male groups. so the evidence is there. but they're asking army special operations forces to believe this. they also say, it's a myth that women will be a distraction. well, what does all this, you know, photo sharing thing all about? if that's not a distraction, i don't know what is. women will destroy cohesion and bonding. and thank you for explaining that it's about survival and trust. whoever wrote this slide apparently doesn't understand that. it says, unqualified women will be pushed into combat arms to satisfy political requirements. well, what are all these quotas
about? we keep hearing gender diversity metrics, quota, 25%. some of the leading advocates have said we need a critical mass of 33% or at least 15% in the army. what is going on here? you've touched on it with all the social science taking precedence over common sense. but this stuff is official policy now. and, you know, the military is being asked to believe it. would you comment? >> probably what i should say before turning this over potentially to discussion from members in the audience, is that political correctness, how shad i phrase this, political correctness for quite some time has run amok. and the people who should be most courageous, because they have multiple stars on their shoulders, very often over the past decade or so have, i would
say, been least courageous in terms of drilling down on this question of what it is that actually will help make combat units more lethal and more effective. instead they've allowed themselves to be thrown on the defensive continuously. and as a consequence, will do things like what you just showed everybody in terms of mass production sensitivity training as though that itself does not create both cognitive dissonance and the people who understand fully what reality is but are being told something totally different on the screen which in and of itself then begins to erode trust in senior leadership for making them sit through briefing after briefing after briefing in terms of sensitivity training when there are many more important things people
have to do. >> questions? in the back. >> hi, i served two decades on -- [ inaudible ] thank you so much for everything you represent. the biggest lie in all of this is that it's an equal opportunity issue. it's not an equal opportunity issue. it's a combat readiness issue. as long as women or men are pushing for this equality on the battlefield, they will find out that isis doesn't care what gender, race you are. they only care if you can kill them or not. women will have to fight in hand to hand combat with the men. isis fights on methamphetamines. they fight high. they've fight in a way that we've had knife fights on the battlefield. and women cannot equally defend themselves under that. the second flawed argument is, if a woman can do that, let her. okay. we've had 400 women go through infantry training battalion and
only 30 or 35% graduated. what happened to the other 65%? how many of them lost their careers? how many of them are injured or disabled? i want to see the attrition rates for all of these women who are injured or disabled because i saw it when i was on active duty time and time again, women injured and disabled, unable to reenlist. and when the cost for these women start skyrocketing, which i daresay if the va were to release the stats, women to men, women have a much higher price with this ideology that we're going to go out there and kick some butt with the males. we're killing women. we're hurting women. we're disabling women. that's all i wanted to add, if you can comment. >> thank you so much. you speak to the broader point of, there's a lot of data. there's ton of data. and the data either has not been released or people have disingenuously chosen to not ask for that data and present that data. and so there is a very slanted
view of not only what's appropriate, but there's also a slanted view in terms of what the public understands, when it comes to women making it through, for instance, ranger school, or the first graduates from any one of a number of other courses. so i would just totally agree with you in terms of people need to speak up far more often, demanding that data actually be released, and that all the data come out. >> i can tell you that of the women who made it through the marine enlisted infantry course, half of them had to drop out because of severe injuries. a small number did try out or expressed an interest in joining infantry battalions. as of the last time i checked, the day before coming down here, there are only three. and one more just the other day,
four, out of that group. now, it's a myth to say these women were not prepared for the gender integrated task force test. this is the pool from which we're drawing the three, the first three, and then the fourth one came in separately. these women were highly qualified for their tests. and their morale was high. and the men were very supportive. the men were average. the women were known to be superior. that's why they were there. and at the end of all these tests, and tests in 2012 and 2013, not one of those tests showed any sign or evidence of superior performance on the part of a gender mixed unit. this is not in any way a criticism of women in the military. i hasten to add, i just have so much respect for women in the military. and it's frustrating that nobody seems to ask them what they think except the army did a major survey, and they asked if combat positions were open, would you take them?
92.5% of army women said no way. so when people say, we need a critical mass of 15%, how are you going to get that 15%? you'll have to have involuntary orders. remember, the secretary of defense, ashton carter, after he deliberately ignored the best professional advice of the marine corps presented by then commandant joseph dunford, he said if this is going to be on a an involuntary basis, same as men, nobody should have illusions about this. what about the recruiting survey, also thrown down the memory hole, but we've written about it. if these options were open, marine women were asked, what would you do? 23% said they would leave or wouldn't join the military and 22% of the men said the same thing. now, what are we doing with this? we're pressing on anyway. it's as if nobody is paying attention to whether this will strengthen those combat units. there's no evidence to show that
it will. but there's a lot of evidence to show that it won't. and i would hold accountable not the women. i think part of the fact that there's a lot of resentment apparently evident on the internet right now, which is appalling and as far as i'm concerned it's something new, i think there is resentment welling up. and it gives me no comfort to say that my organization predicted that if you try to teach men, as in these special operations forces slides, you try to teach them that black is white and false is true, when you do that, you'll cause men to be resentful of women and women will get the resentment they do not deserve. and i think that's what we're seeing now. these are anthropological questions, social questions, military questions. this program tonight, maybe is just the beginning of research that needs to be done. >> i would say just as a further response, i needed to look at the numbers, two of our students who since graduated crunched what numbers that they could
find. they were looking at what it means for women to be i say injected, other people would say integrated, into special forces teams. they used what they could find in terms of the army's physical fitness test scores. if you make some reasonable, very reasonable calculations, out of 76,694 women in the army at the time they did this which was a couple of years ago, maybe 145 of them would actually be able to meet the minimum apft score to actually try out for special forces. so this raises all sorts of questions, because we've so politicized this issue, this scrutiny from the hill in terms
of ensuring that what happens, that women actually make it through, the community itself, the soft community is rife with rumors about what was done to get the two female rangers through ranger school. i have no idea whether the rumors are correct or not. i've heard a number of things second and third hand. it doesn't matter whether the rumors are correct. the fact that there are rumors itself is extremely problematic in terms of guys assuming what, that there is all sorts of assistance, that there were all sorts of things that were done in order to ensure that at least one but ideally two women would pass. that's not good. as i say, they very well may have done it totally on their own merits. i don't want to take anything away from them. but the fact that there's doubt and the fact that there's suspicion that they didn't is
very corrosive of trust and it's very corrosive of confidence that dod actually has soldiers' best interests at heart. >> another question. yes. >> a quick question. my name is andrew stack, a former paratrooper. i worked as a war correspondent in iraq for four years. i was in abu ghraib in '05. the pao at the time was a female captain. we're walking around post, we had a mortar barrage coming in. i looked at her and i said, you do realize you're not allowed to be here, don't you? she laughed. i guess my point is this, that this is hypocrisy. at the bottom line, it's hypocrisy. and everybody's infantry. if you're a cook, you're infantry. if you're in that theater, you're infantry. do you know what i'm saying? everybody has to carry a weapon. >> let's clarify what you mean. the direct ground combat units are the ones that attack the enemy. infantry, armor, artillery,
special operations forces. >> i understand. >> navy seals. they attack the enemy. some people are subject to contingent combat, they get fired on, they have to fire back. that's still not the same as the units that attack the enemy. so our subject today is the -- >> i'm sorry if i'm being a little bit offtopic, but from my voi viewpoint, if you're being shot at, you're being shot at, at the end of the day. >> sometimes women can be as or more courageous than men. there's ample evidence of that. but being courageous in a firefight or coming under fire and being courageous is -- it's not a difference of degree. it's a difference in kind from being out on your own for an indefinite period of time, where it's just 10 of you or just 12
of you, and you're basically stuck. >> remember, the mission is to beat the enemy. >> it's not whether the women are capable or not, i've been around enough women, i know they're capable. >> the hypocrisy is what? maybe i'm not clear on what you're saying. >> the fact that we're talking about this still. >> we're not political footballing. we're serious about this. we're talking about -- >> the official line was no women in combat. i understand what you're saying, they're not in active outgoing units. but the fact of the matter remains is that if it's raining bombs, it's raining bombs. >> we know everybody is in danger, that's a given, we know that. but the marine report asking for exceptions, which they had every right to file with the secretary of defense, said that if you gender integrate units, it would interfere with mission and combat lethality. those are the four keywords and the secretary of defense treated them like trash, because he
doesn't care about mission accomplishment or combat lethality. it's all about gender diversity, metrics and quotas. i'm going to call on professor owens, if you would like to comment. >> i would like to respond to that point. if you're in a combat zone, chances are you're going to get shot at, and that's one thing. but i think as elaine pointed out, i was in vietnam, and the fact is when you're an infantry guy, platoon, something, when you come under fire, you turn and attack the enemy. if you're basically a motor transport unit convoy or something like that, and you come into an area where you're under fire, the idea is to get out as quickly as possible. and again, that's why i think the distinction is between being in a combat zone and being in a combat unit. the purpose of which is to close with and destroy the enemy, which is different. if you're a paratrooper, that
was your job. i was an infantry guy, that was my job. it's different. and by the way, the combat service support, combat support, combat engineers, all these sorts of folks, clearly come under fire. they are subject to being killed or wounded, all these sorts of things. and that's not really what we're talking about here. the issue is women in these combat units. and i myself was -- the marine corps did what they were supposed to do in terms of saying, okay, we're actually going to try to test this. we're going to have some sexually integrated units here and some all-male units and we will basically compare their performance. and as elaine said, about 65% of the time, the all-male units did better. that's the difference between being in a combat unit and being in a combat zone. and i think that distinction is the most important one we need to make. by the way, i want to say, if
you think that women in a combat unit is a good idea, read two books. one is a novel, for me it's a roman a clef, because it was about my unit in vietnam, it was called "matterhorn." it was written by a good friend of mine. read that book, and read "1 million steps," but a marine platoon or marine company that was deployed in the hellman province. you see the difference between being in a combat zone, being in an f-3, where the purpose is to destroy the enemy. >> thank you. the book i would suggest is a book about what happened in afghanistan, "the outlaw platoon" by sean, i forget his last name. the firefighters they were constantly engaged in, it blows out of the water this myth that everybody is in danger and it's
no different. these guys had to go out over and over and over and attack the enemy. i wondered how the author even got back to write the book, that's how intense it was. i think we have more questions. yes, right there. second row. >> i spent my misspent youth, i'm a marine knocker, did 28 years in reserve and infantry and military intelligence. i actually wrote a paper for command staff in correspondence in the mid-'80s, claiming that women should be specialty as long as they met the standards, which was my thing, plus the fact that when my infantry platoon in vietnam, we would go 15 days between showers, and all the women i met in the army, in their mind none of them particularly thought that was a good idea. and i would throw in, i had a classmate of mine in charge of the medical units in iraq in '04, and he told me his biggest problem was fraternization, and it wasn't with the iraqis.
it was within the medical units. and one last thing. as a taxpayer, i'm really frosted with that west point graduate reserve major, the third ranger school graduate, took 180 days for a 61-day course. as a taxpayer, i had to pay her three times longer than what's normal just to she could finish the course. and i think -- i've heard the same said of my classmates in e-mails about the ranger school people. they're claiming one of the generals at benning supposedly became an instructor to help the two lieutenant captains come through as if an active duty guy was going to argue with the cg of benning. so anyway, but the whole thing is, i think you're just not going to have the numbers. when i did research in the '80s for my paper, the canadians, i think they started out with 450 women to form an infantry unit and i think they had like five graduates, or one. and so what do you know with one
qualified infantrymen? it's just craziness. >> what's going to happen with the four women who have qualified and are in infantry battalions. the men in barracks will have to give up 50% of their latrine or shower facilities to accommodate the women. in the field they'll be sleeping side by side in two-person tents. and they're in separate units. so they're not going to have any mutual support. and the real irony is that when they're in a unit where they're supposed to compete with the men, even if they were the top notch, top performers in the previous unit, they're going to be at the bottom of the ratings, which is very frustrating. nobody wants to be on the bottom of the ratings. so again, why are we doing this? i respect those women who made it through ranger training, i really do. i'm not making any statements impugning what they did. but i understand that two are in the infantry, one is not, has left, and all of that training went by the board.
so i do want to introduce someone in the audience that i think brought a very refreshing aspect to this. in an interview -- actually it was an interview with president obama, and it was moderated by jake tapper on cnn. and captain lauren serrano is here as an individual. she said something, i'm going to read to you exactly what she said, a very respectful question. good afternoon, mr. president. a study of the marine corps revealed that mixed gender combat units performed notably worse and that women suffered staggeringly higher rates of injury. just one of those statistics showed that mixed gender units took up to 159% longer to evacuate a casualty. again, this is where it gets real. as the wife of a marine who deploys to combat often, that added time can mean the difference between my husband
living or dying. who would have thought it? why were these tangible negative consequences disregarded and how can the integration of women positively enhance the infantry mission and make me and my husband safer? well, the president just sort of rambled on, he didn't really answer her question. the point is, the concerns of this marine captain with a background in intelligence and writing awards because she's spoken out so very well, it doesn't seem to matter. and that's really a shame. other questions? bob? >> i wondered whether you considered whether there's something far more deeper and ominous than simply the illogic, common sense or illogical social science or mysterious motivations. some have said that the
declaration of the fungibility of male and female is ontological anarchy. the creator, all mighty god, in whom all military people swear their oath, so help me god. but it seems to me the discussion has never really attended to a serious moral component. i recall talking to one marine corps general who suggested that the issue was not a matter of military readiness that concerned him, it was a matter of what kind of civilization do we want to build. >> i would like to comment on the dependence of it. >> so i know this comes up in discussions very often. and i just should say that while the question of to what extent we're civilized, if we allow women to willingly sacrifice themselves on behalf of the rest
of us, is not a question that i necessarily -- it's not a question i'm going to answer here, though i think lots of people agree with you, because it certainly seems that they do. and i should say also, when it comes to questions of physical standards, i've always worried about this issue of physical standards and whether the physical standards will be changed, to what extent they'll be changed, when they'll be changed and all the rest of it, because there will be exceptional females who are going to be able to do whatever it is that many males are able to do. and the question that i've always grappled with as to do with small unit integrity and whether small unit integrity should be sacrificed in order to enable a few exceptional individuals to be granted some kind of set of rights.
it's an issue they might say of equity. but one of the equity questions that never gets asked is, there are lots of equities, there are lots of stakeholders. for instance, dependents are stakeholders. i know my husband would kill me if i left it that he's a retired officer, he's actually retired and enlisted nco. and very proud of that fact. and so i have a little bit of insight, not as much as many wives these days whose husbands have deployed nonstop, but nobody ever bothers to ask dependents, wives of combat soldiers and marines, but how they would feel and what it would do to them and what it might do to their marriage in terms of the concern and worry, when there's a fully capable female on the team for prolonged periods of time with their husband, whether it's a rational
fear or it's an irrational feeler, again, it's a little bit like these rumors about what happened in ranger school with the women who went through ranger school. it almost doesn't matter if the rumors are true if enough people believe in them. it corrodes and erodes trust and it erodes and corrodes confidence. and so i would submit, again, with all of the other data that needs to be collected, somebody needs to do a genuine survey of dependents. and dependents don't just include wives. dependents also include children. and the army war college a number of years ago did a study, because the chief of staff of the army was quite concerned about the effect of all these repeated deployments and the fact that fathers were away or fathers and mothers in this case were away, the effects on children and adolescents in particular. so we're talking about lots of implications, lots of ramifications. we can ask some very profound questions about what it will do
to retention, not just attracting, who you're going to attract into the military, because i don't doubt that lots of 18 to 20 to 22-year-old males will still sign up. what i do worry about is what happens when that 15-year veteran suddenly now has to contend with all sorts of gender-related questions when it comes to either the ground combat unit he's on or the ground combat units he's commanding. those headaches, those additional headaches, those additional concerns at home, are just one more reason for that family team to collectively say, we're done, 20 years, we're out. then what does that do to retaining all sorts of experience, all sorts of knowledge, and what does that do to retaining people who have sensibilities about what it is families actually worry about. i totally dodged your question.
so thank you. >> not exactly. you raised the questions that haven't really been asked. i can tell you on the presidential commission, the subcommittee i served on about families, we did a conference call with about 50 submarine wives. is submariners have a very high divorce rate, it's a very high stress environment. my father was a submariner. and the wives said they weren't as concerned about the sexual issues as they were about safety. distractions that would cause certain things to be unseen and disasters to happen. and on a submarine, it's the same as being in space, it's that hostile an environment, they knew what they were talking about. and of course that figure ignored too. so yeah, it's a big issue that needs to be discussed. bill in the back, hi, it's good to see you. >> the old washington headhunter psychologist stan hyman talked
about the bond between mother and child. after desert storm, there's a photograph, the man is holding the infant, the mother has just come back. she extends her arms and the baby turns away from her. the bond was broken. that child will never trust anyone. and the family dynamics involved in this, the people who push this i think not only don't care but would like to break up families. and two, when you've seen those who are horribly wounded, it's bad enough if it's a man, but if it's a woman, she will either never get married or if she does get married or is married, she will be divorced, because just look at what happens with women who have had breast cancer. >> well, i don't know, we've seen some severely wounded women and they seem to be -- it's a challenge to lead a good life. i don't think it would be fair to say that because their beauty is gone that they're not still beautiful people. but you're absolutely right -- but you're absolutely right about family separation and the
theories that child psychologists have. my subcommittee looked into that very deeply. there were at that time, 1992, there were some new studies starting and we haven't heard anything about them. this topic has gone right down the memory hole. nobody wants to talk about it. instead they talk about gender diversity metrics and getting more women, 15%, 25% in the navy was the battle cry of secretary mavis. the former chairman of the joint chiefs staff, general martin dempsey, he said if the standard is too high, and the women can't meet it, then we will question the standard. and why would you question the standard? because you have to make it more women-friendly. now, this can be done in various ways. you can take the toughest programs out, the toughest tasks. you can change the scoring systems. you can pass people through even if they didn't pass. you can pretend that reality doesn't matter. and that is to a certain extent
what is happening right now, the extent of it, we have yet to see. i think the marines have held the line as well as they can. but the army was way too compliant in going along with president obama and the special operations forces community also capitulated. they should have given support to the marine corps and the very data-driven presentation they made, which is also being shoved down the memory hole. enough from me. more questions. yes? >> i was going to say, yeah, they have been reporting on cnn about the corruption in the military, and one of the things that they're worth on is you can't come out in the military with don't ask, don't tell, and say i am a christian, muslim, or jew. that's leading to a public and civilian injustice in terms of
social activity. what can be done to combat what's going on in the civilian world, what the military is doing promoting life after death with all that we went through as far as the crime going on in the country from a civilian perspective, the military acting as if we can live as if there is life after death. >> i think you're asking is religious liberty being threatened by the new policy regarding lesbians, gays, transgenders, lgbt personnel in the military, is that your question? >> that you can't come out in the military saying i am a christian or a muslim or a jew. >> or anyone who supports traditional values. the myth that repealing the 1993 law regarding gays in the military has gone smoothly, that's a myth. five major changes have been negative.
one being the attack on religious liberty. the second was gay marriage and benefits, both of which were denied by the obama administration at the time. then you have lgbt, transgender is the issue now, being upheld as a civil rights group with special privileges. the last one regarding recruiting and retention, that will come later, but if our economy gets stronger, we're going to see some serious disruption. but on the "t" part of it, the transgender, doctors and nurses are facing a moral dilemma. they're being ordered to do something they consider a violation of medical ethics. i've heard from two military doctors, and they said, how am i going to do this and teach people under me when i know you cannot by changing a sentence on a paper, a man into a woman or a woman into a man, you can't do this. it is the ultimate theory that is falling apart. it's the doctors and nurses.
a lot of people will be affected. this hasn't gone into effect. lgbt, small number. social injuring is butting up against military readiness. what those in this room are trying to say, wait a minute, the military is there to defend the country. it's not there to advance social agendas. the newest survey, a focus group, the women surveyed said yeah, it's a social agenda, everybody knows it's a social agenda. there is nothing there to benefit or strengthen the military. so i come back to what i said before, it's up to civilians, including civilians in congress, who voted to repeal that law, they need to be held accountable for the problems that they caused. and then we can see if there's some other way to proceed. another question. yes, art. >> my name is arthur schultz. what i bring to this discussion is 20 years as an armor officer.
i was in vietnam. my cab troop led what was called the cambodian incursion. 60 days of constant maneuver, fighting one time after another. i would never want to see any women in that because that goes through at least pms cycles which nobody yet has talked about. when i've asked that question, i'm told that a woman loses 50% of her strength during that cycle. now, we talked about task cohesion. task cohesion seems to me, it has to be built on the ability to do the task. i'm an armor officer. armor is not just driving a tank. if you hit a mine, you're going to have to change the track, change the track pads, change the road wheels. that's a lot of demanding work. and i can't imagine women having the ability to pick up a road wheel, pull out -- do all the other things, or particularly to do it when you're under time
constraints or you're damaging rams downrange. we all talk about combat. you mentioned infantry. a large part of the infantry has to be able to throw a grenade. i saw a woman marine trying to throw a grenade, she threw it three or four feet in front of the sandbags and everybody had to hit the ground. that is a physical reality that nobody has addressed. are we going to take that off the list? that is automatically a communicator to any other infantry guy that that person is not capable of doing the job and so i don't see how you get task cohesion or evacuating people. picking -- i mean, we've had -- i was a tank company commander as well as a cad troop commander. uploading after you've had a battle is strenuous. then you get up and go again.
plus you're living in confined spaces. i'm sorry, but it's a bunch of whatever. now, i was not in any unit that had women other than at headquarters. but i had a friend, when i was at tredoc, 19 early '70s, who commanded the first air defense in europe, in agregreece at the time. it was one of the first units that integrated women. he said that was the worst job he ever had, he would never push it on anybody else. he said once a woman has sex with somebody in the unit, everybody else gets jealous, it's a male thing, okay? yet science says it doesn't happen. you look at all the reports of sexual harassment. i didn't tell here we are saying, oh, we're going to push
them together and expect that not to happen? >> thank you, art, i appreciate your comments. what you just said reminds me of what an admiral told me when i visited the navy s.e.a.l. community in coronado in 1992. he said pretty much the same thing. he said because men have to live and deploy in intimate, and i do mean skin to skin, conditions in order to stay warm, you introduce sexuality into that community rememb community, he said, and you're going to have disruption like you never had before. and he said it's not the women's fault, whether they're happily married or not, the men will compete. why are we pretending these things don't matter? strength test, 17% of the women could not do the job. only 1% of the men could not. 33% on another heavy task could not do it. the men, only 1%. so if your son is a navy s.e.a.l. or in an armor battalion, would you want your son to be on an aircraft doing
high altitude low entry thing, knowing that 30% of those parachutes are not going to work? why do we elevate risks like this? again, it really makes no sense. and i think we've got two more questions before we have to wrap up. >> i just want to interject and say, i don't -- i want us to be very careful and not do a disservice to young women, many of whom are extremely ideal i say particulidealistic, i've spt of time in villages all over africa, where hygiene may not be exactly what it is that we're used to. so i think we need to be extremely careful in terms of the kinds of arguments that actually get made in the 21st century about what it is that
young women can or cannot do. and what we need to focus on, again, is what is it that is going to make combat units more lethal and more effective. and somebody actually be able to make a very cogent, very persuasive argument that there will be a need for all female unit of direct action oriented individuals who will be able to go into someplace unrecognized and do something. i don't think that we should automatically dismiss the idea that women aren't capable. the question -- the question that we should be wrestling with is, what do we already know is likely to happen to small unit integrity when you introduce women into otherwise all male units. and it's not just sex that's going to rear its head. yes, competition.
but there are also emotional bonds that tend to be different, very often, between men and women than between just men or between just women, especially when we're talking about heterosexual males and females. so to only talk about sex is to also do a disservice to the very complicated effects or dynamics that result when men and women are together. >> thank you so much for saying that. because there are so many new issues right now, it doesn't help to stay in the past. i agree with you, women cope. they do things that you or i -- well, i don't know about you, but civilian women wouldn't dream of doing, and i admire them for doing that. but the empirical evidence cannot be denied, and it is being denied, and that's a problem that's got to stop somewhere. you have your hand up. one more. >> i think you can kind of see where the argument goes when you start with a social darwinism theory that's based on an
essentializing of male and female. i wanted to get back to what you were saying, let's go to the crucial issue of social cohesion and a small group of people of 10 to 12. i want to argument out. the premise as i understand it is that you're saying it's a darwinian principle that men will be sexually aggressive towards women, first of all, i think that's really dangerous to say to assume that all men in the service will with this compulsion to want to engage her in a sexual liaison because they're in a group of 10 to 12 people in a small unit. i think that is doing a disservice to our military and having an identity as a soldier. irthink that's unfair to men. the second thing is -- >> may i respond first? >> let me finish f we follow your argument out that we need an all male combat unit because
being men, and i assume you mean heterosexual men, they will be more cohesive and work more functionally. so my question is how does a gay man fit into the social cohesion of a heterosexual 10 to 12 person unit? and if we do a darwinian premise about the rape proclivity of men which i think is really unfair to men, can you then imagine a gay male and female heterosexual unit that would function better because the sexual tension is gone? >> we need to wrap up. what is so disturb sgt centralizing of male proclivities based on tes toss roan or a chemical element that men. >> caller: control and therefore they would -- >> okay, enough. >> please, we need to wrap up. >> women are too gentle to pick up a gun and fight. >> ma'am --
>> i think it's dangerous. >> you repeat that word four times. that was not even said by anyone on this program. and then you exaggerated what was said in a way that is almost bizarre. but to deny that men and women are different, that counter theory is that we have to eliminate masculinism and masculinist tendencies in the military. the aed voluntary cats of women in combat are serious about that, too. they have been since the 1990s. so what you are suggesting that masculine ti is disease? some people believe that. what we're saying is we need professional behavior between men and women and acknowledge that people are human. they make mistakes. they're not perfect. training doesn't solve all issues of personal character. if we're going to have a strong military, we need to allow for. that we need to encourage discipline rather than indiscipline. some people are stronger than
others. we know. that i think it's really unfair to try to put words into our mouth that are unfair what you say unfair to men. we respect both men and women in the military. >> may i ask -- you have the last word. >> i appreciate the degree to which you embroidered and rewrote most of what i said. i would just pitch back to you this question. if you don't like the idea of centralizing which is a classic academic term these days. how do you address the attrition interchangeability issue or challenge that will always be faced by combat units? if you do not consider people to be interchangeable, then what do you do in terms of attrition and in a war? i leave you with that to pond eastern a -- ponder and ask everybody else to thank you again for embroidering what i said and
turning it more or less inside out. maybe like a mobius strip. >> ladies and gentlemen. will you please join me in thanking our guests. there is a little time to continue the discussion outside. thank you very much for your attention. >> the senate advanced the confirmation of judge neil gorsuch. the vote was 55-44, a simple
majority was needed for that vote. the democrats say 60 votes will be needed to confirm judge gorsuch unless republicans change senate rulelelelele many jart leader mcconnell plans to hold the confirmation vote on friday. follow it live on c-span2. >> saturday, "book tv" is live from the 15th annual annapolis book festival in maryland. beginning at 10:00 a.m. eastern oushgs coverage includes a panel discussion on income and equality with katherine eden, author of "$2 a day." and then at 11:00 a.m. eastern, a discussion on criminal justice with a book adnan's story. the search for truth and justice after syria. and author brian stolars with his book "grace and justice on death row." the race against time in texas to free an innocent man. at noon eastern, author
discussions with mark schriber, my search for the real pope franceses. at 1. 306789 p.m., author michael hayden. and at 3:00 pm eastern, thomas dolby author of "speed of sound." watch the 15th annual annapolis book festival live on saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2's book tv. >> in case you missed it on c-span. clinton watts of the foreign policy research institute had the senate intelligence hearing. >> through the end of 2015 and start of 2016, the russian influence system began pushing themes and messages seeking to influence the outcome of the u.s. presidential election. russia's overt coverts sought to sideline them on the political spectrum with adversarial views towards the kremlin.